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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sends letter to President Joe Biden on Laken Riley murder


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Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is demanding answers from the White House following the tragic killing of a 22-year-old nursing student, Laken Hope Riley, on the campus of the University of Georgia.

The letter came as 26-year-old Jose Antonio Ibarra, was charged as the suspect in the murder of the 22-year-old nursing student on the UGA campus.

Three ICE & DHS sources told Fox News that Ibarra is a Venezuelan national who crossed illegally into El Paso, Texas, in September 2022 and was released into the U.S. via parole.

Kemp addressed a letter to President Biden on Saturday morning, seeking clarification and demanding the White House secure the southern border.

“Frankly, Mr. President, your continued silence in response to these reasonable requests is outrageous,” Kemp wrote in the letter, which was posted on X. “The American people deserve to know who is illegally entering our country due to your administration’s failures, and what risks and challenges every state must now face.”

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In the letter, Kemp sought information on Ibarra’s current immigration status and why the administration had allegedly underscored the urgency of sharing the suspect’s immigration status promptly.

“Why was my administration not made aware of the asylum claims and subsequent release of an illegal resident who presented fraudulent identification?” Kemp asked. “What is the current immigration status of Jose Antonio Ibarra and why has this information not been relayed to my administration?”

“What additional information does your administration possess regarding these individuals and the circumstances surrounding their entry into the country?” Kemp asked.

Brian Kemp speaks at US/Mexico border

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a press conference at Shelby Park in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Feb. 4, 2024.  (Sergio Flores / AFP via Getty Images / File)

Kemp emphasized how his administration was forced to rely on unofficial sources and leaks to media outlets for information on Ibarra — rather than ICE & DHS officials.

He asserted that answers to Ibarra’s immigration status must be provided publicly as soon as possible to ensure that state and local officials have the necessary information to safeguard communities.

“While media reports surrounding this case have relied on sources and leaks from your own federal agencies, the answers to these basic questions must be provided publicly as soon as possible to ensure state and local officials have the information we need in order to keep our communities safe,” Kemp said.

President Biden

President Biden (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images / File)

Kemp demanded that the federal government must secure the border before Riley’s fate is “replicated across the country.”

“These tragedies are not unique to Georgia. While we will continue to support Texas with National Guard resources as we have since 2019, federal action to secure the border is the only way to wholistically [sic] address this ongoing crisis and ensure Laken Riley’s horrible fate is not replicated across the country,” Kemp said. “However, if you continue to refuse to exercise your authority as president, your administration must provide the information necessary for Georgia and other states to protect our citizens.”

The White House insisted on Friday that House Republicans stand in the way of a solution to what Biden has called a “broken” immigration system. 

“For the past several months, we worked with Republican senators and also Democrats in the Senate to try to come up with a fair and tough piece of legislation that would deal with border security,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at the daily White House press briefing. 

Jose Antonio Ibarra Mugshot

Jose Ibarra, who was originally taken into custody on Friday by the UGA Police Department in connection with Riley’s death, is now not believed to have had a connection to the victim. (Clarke County Sheriff’s Office)

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Jean-Pierre noted that a bipartisan deal reached last month had been endorsed by the Border Patrol union before Johnson declared it “dead on arrival.” 

“Speaker Johnson has gotten in the way of this,” she added. “We did our job. The Senate did their job in a bipartisan way. 

Ibarra was taken into custody by UGA police Friday and has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another, UGA Police Chief Jeffrey L. Clark said during a news briefing Friday evening.  

Riley, an Augusta University nursing student, was found dead Thursday after previously attending UGA before entering a nursing program at the University of Augusta’s Athens campus. 

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According to an incident report obtained by Fox News Digital, multiple officers began searching for Riley near the Intramural Fields around 12:07 p.m. At 12:38, a UGA police officer spotted her on the ground. 

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running

Laken Riley smiles for a photo while running. Riley, a nursing student at the University of Georgia, was found dead near a lake on campus on Thursday. (Laken Riley/Instagram)

“I called out to Riley, and I did not get a response,” the officer wrote.

She had visible injuries, and police could not locate a pulse. They began CPR anyway. A sergeant arrived with a defibrillator minutes later and unsuccessfully attempted to revive the victim.

Autopsy results remained pending Friday, but authorities said they were investigating her death as a homicide. Clark said it appeared as though she had been killed by blunt-force trauma.

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Kemp’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz, Chris Pandolfo and Bill Melugin contributed to this report.



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