Democratic Senator Kills GOP Immigration Bill With One Vote

Contrary to President Joe Biden’s claim that GOP lawmakers bear the blame for the ongoing border crisis under his watch, congressional Republicans have advanced multiple bills aimed at addressing illegal immigration and its associated societal ills only to be thwarted by members on the other side of the aisle.

One recent example involves a measure known as Sarah’s Law, which, if approved, would grant Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents the authority to detain undocumented migrants facing charges related to a violent crime.

In response to a request from U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) for unanimous consent in order to move the legislation forward, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) used a legislative tactic to stall that process with just one “no” vote. His brief statement defending the move claimed that passage of the legislation would “deprive immigrants of the due process that everyone is afforded,” though he failed to explain how individuals who are in the country illegally are supposedly protected by the constitutional provision he cited.

During her Senate floor speech in favor of the measure, Ernst referenced the 21-year-old victim for whom Sarah’s Law is named.

Sarah Root was killed when a car allegedly being driven by an undocumented migrant, Edwin Mejia, crashed into her vehicle. Mejia was subsequently allowed to post bond and get out of jail, only to flee and avoid justice in the murder case.

“Citing the Obama administration’s November 2014 memo on immigration enforcement priorities, ICE declined to take custody of Mejia despite his repeated driving offenses and history of skipping court dates,” the Iowa Republican argued.

Ernst asserted that Sarah’s Law would help prevent violent crimes against Americans by migrants who should not be in the U.S. in the first place.

“It would merely require ICE to detain, just to detain, otherwise deportable illegal immigrants charged with killing or seriously injuring another person,” she said.

Earlier this year in the GOP-led House of Representatives, however, a few dozen Democrats voted alongside Republicans to pass a measure that would allow for the deportation of undocumented immigrants convicted of driving under the influence.

Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL), who introduced the bill, explained: “In the United States, someone dies in a crash with an impaired driver every 45 minutes. I lost two of my young newlywed constituents to an illegal immigrant driving under the influence of alcohol.”