Laken Riley's 'heartbroken' father asks Georgia governor to 'declare an invasion' of illegal immigrants

Laken Riley’s father spoke Wednesday before the Georgia state Senate to remember his daughter about a month after the Augusta University nursing student was murdered while jogging on the University of Georgia campus.

Riley, 22, was found dead in a wooded area on UGA’s campus on Feb. 22 after she did not return home from her morning run. Jose Antonio Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan national who was living illegally in the United States, has been charged in her murder, which police described as a “crime of opportunity.”

“I stand before you, a heartbroken man,” Riley’s father, Jason Riley, said before the state Senate on Wednesday afternoon. “Part of my purpose has been taken. God gave me a beautiful daughter to father, protect, provide for and nurture. A man with an evil heart stole her life. He was in this country and in this state illegally. My vision for every senator in this chamber is that you protect citizens from this illegal invasion.”

Jason Riley pleaded with state lawmakers to “recognize” that “over a million illegal aliens are in this state and making families nervous.”

LAKEN RILEY MURDER: GEORGIA SHERIFF SAYS ICE DETAINER POLICY FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ‘COULD BE IMPROVED’

Laken Riley’s father asks Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to declare an invasion before the Georgia state Senate. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

“Please recognize Athens-Clarke as a sanctuary city, and this policy and the lack of action, led to the murder of my daughter,” he said. “There are a few of you in this chamber that are standing up and working on that solution to protect us. For that, my family is thankful.”

Encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border reached a new record of 2.3 million over the 2022 fiscal year. In 2023, that record was broken with 2.4 million encounters, according to Customs and Border Protection.

ILLEGAL BROTHER OF LAKEN RILEY MURDER SUSPECT LINKED TO VENEZUELAN CRIME GANG

Border Patrol agents encounter over 1,000 migrants in El Paso, Texas, March 29, 2023. (Customs and Border Protection)

December 2023 broke the record for monthly border encounters at more than 300,000 for the first time, CBP reported. The immigration court currently has a backlog of more than 3 million cases.

GEORGIA STUDENT MURDER SUSPECT CONFIRMED TO BE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

“Governor Kemp, please declare an invasion to detain and deport criminal illegals so we can prevent future families from those tragedies,” Jason Riley continued. “Hundreds of women and children each month… are being smuggled, coerced, and trafficked in our state. They are victims, just like Laken. I thank you for honoring Laken in this way, and I humbly ask you to do more to protect us. She and my family mean the world to me.”

Laken Riley, a nursing student, was found dead near a lake on the University of Georgia campus on Feb. 22, 2024. (Allyson Phillips/Facebook)

The grieving father continued: “I’d like to also recognize Senator Colton Moore and Michael Gargiulo, who are great men fighting for freedom and security in our state. They were there for our family throughout this process. I thank them and each of you for this opportunity to hear from our family and to hear our cry for help so we can protect others as Laken would have wanted. God be with our state and each of you. Thank you.”

BROTHER OF UGA MURDER SUSPECT CHARGED WITH GREEN CARD FRAUD

Jose Ibarra and his two brothers, who were also in the United States illegally from Venezuela, lived together in an apartment complex in Athens located about a five-minute walk from the approximate scene near Lake Herrick on UGA’s campus where Riley was killed.

University of Georgia murder suspect Jose Ibarra lived within a five-minute walk of the approximate scene where Laken Riley was killed on Feb. 22. (Mark Sims for Fox News Digital/Laken Riley/Jose Ibarra)

Jose entered the United States through the U.S.-Mexico border in 2022 and was freed on border parole. He initially lived in New York City before moving to the Georgia college town.

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He is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another.

Diego Ibarra was fired from a dishwashing job at UGA after presenting fake green card documents, the school previously told Fox News Digital. Argenis Ibarra, 24, is currently detained at an ICE facility in Georgia.

Fox News’ Madison Scarpino, Megan Myers and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.

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