Passage of Sarah’s Law Blocked by Senate Members

Senate Democrats blocked U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s bill, Sarah’s LawErnst has worked to pass a bill in honor of Sarah Root, a twenty-one year-old Iowan from Council Bluffs, who was struck and killed in Omaha, Neb., by Edwin Mejia, who entered the country illegally and was driving drunk – three times over the legal limit.

Despite repeated requests by local law enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), failed to detain Mejia, because of  policy that allows ICE to use discretion when determining whether to detain a criminal alien charged with a violent offense. He posted bond, was released, and disappeared.

In 2017, President Trump implemented parts of Sarah’s Law through an executive order, including directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of violent criminals. During the 116th Congress, Sarah’s Law has gathered 25 cosponsors.

Ernst’s bill would codify a fix to this policy, and require that ICE take custody of a person who is in the country illegally if they are charged with a crime that seriously injures another person. It also mandates a better victim notification system that lets victims and their families know what happened to their loved ones.

Following her attempt to pass her legislation, Senate Democrats blocked her efforts. Watch Ernst’s response below.

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