Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Sarah's Law – Named for Iowan Sarah Root – Passes U.S. House as Part of Immigration Enforcement Measure

Jun 29, 2017

SARAH’S MOTHER ON HAND IN U.S. CAPITOL TO WATCH DEBATE AND PASSAGE IN PERSON

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) which included language from Sarah's Law, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Iowa Congressmen David Young and Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon and in the U.S. Senate (S. 37) by Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley and Nebraska Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fisher.

Including Sarah’s Law language in this legislation is a huge step forward to ensure criminals don’t fall through the cracks because of current bureaucratic confusion. Sarah’s Law was written in honor of Sarah Root, an Iowan and Third Congressional District constituent who was tragically killed by an illegal immigrant in January of 2016 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Sarah’s mother, Michelle Root, sat in the House Gallery of the U.S. Capitol Building to witness the passage of the legislation which includes the law named in her daughter’s memory.

House action comes after last year’s disappearance of Eswin Mejia, the illegal immigrant charged with Sarah’s death that has not been seen since posting bail in February of 2016 fleeing the ability for justice to be served.

Sarah’s Law seeks to prevent future cases like this, by amending existing mandatory detention provisions in place under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It requires ICE to take custody of any individual who has entered or remains in the United States illegally and is also charged with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.

“Sarah’s death is a tragedy which has left the Root family and our community in mourning,” said Congressman Young. While we cannot bring Sarah back, including Sarah’s Law language in this legislation is a positive step in making sure this type tragedy never happens again. I will continue to do what I can as a lawmaker to honor her memory and work to prevent senseless tragedies like this in the future.”

“It was a horrendous failure by INS to release Sara Root’s killer, enabling him to dodge justice” said Congressman Bacon. “This bill will ensure that Sarah and her family get that justice, and that this cannot happen to another family. They deserve better.” 

“I am encouraged to see parts of our bill, Sarah’s Law, included in legislation passed by the House today,” said Senator Ernst. In particular, this legislation would require federal immigration authorities to detain those here illegally who harm American citizens. While we will need to carefully review the entirety of the legislation before moving forward in the Senate, this move to include language from Sarah’s Law honors Sarah Root’s legacy and works to ensure that no other family falls victim to the injustice the Root family has faced.”

“When illegal immigrants enter our country and violate the law, it can lead to disastrous consequences. The tragic example of my own constituent, Sarah Root, whose life was taken far too early, left her family, friends and community irreparably scarred,” Grassley said. “Unfortunately, Sarah’s death is not an isolated case.  Many innocent Americans have been seriously injured, and in some cases killed, because of the actions of some illegal immigrant criminals.  Local authorities must cooperate with federal law enforcement in order to make our communities safer by taking criminal immigrants off the streets. I hope now the Senate will do its part to protect American lives.”

“Today, our loved ones who have passed due to illegal immigrants have had their voices heard,” said Michelle Root, Sarah’s mother. “What was in place did not protect my daughter, the goal should be to protect citizens and honor those who have passed.”

H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, now moves to the U.S. Senate for their consideration. President Trump has expressed his support for this legislation and has stated that he is “looking forward to signing it into law.”

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