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Senator Raphael Warnock labeled the GOP-led Laken Riley Act “smoke and mirrors” by Republicans in office.

He criticized the act, which was recently passed by House Republicans, for its approach to handling individuals living in the US illegally and charged with theft-related crimes. On MSNBC’s “The Reid Out,” Warnock said, “Let me, first of all, just say that my heart goes out to this young woman’s family. Laken Riley did not deserve what happened to her. To answer your question succinctly, this is smoke and mirrors by people who are not serious. We had a bipartisan piece of legislation in front of us. It had a lot of provisions, some provisions that some folks on my side didn’t like. But the only way to get comprehensive immigration reform, the only way to address the current crisis on the border in divided government, is on a bipartisan basis.”


The context of the act’s introduction is tied to the incident involving Riley, who was found dead after not returning from a run at the University of Georgia. Her death, caused by a Venezuelan migrant who entered the US illegally in 2022, has been spotlighted by Republicans as a symbol of border security failures.

Various Georgia lawmakers, including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, have publicly condemned lawmakers from Georgia who did not support the Laken Riley Act, going so far as to insinuate that they were morally bankrupt. Despite this, Warnock has argued lawmakers must prioritize substantial legislative action over “political rhetoric,” focusing on the broader issues of immigration reform and border security.


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