Republican Calls for Biden to Deliver State of the Union Address

Representative Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana, is urging President Joe Biden to include Laken Riley in his upcoming State of the Union address.

Riley, a nursing student at Augusta University, tragically lost her life last month near the University of Georgia campus in Athens. The suspect, Jose Antonio Ibarra, a resident of Athens, was apprehended and charged in relation to her death. It was revealed that Ibarra had entered the country illegally in 2022. Law enforcement officials labeled the incident as an “isolated incident” and described it as a “crime of opportunity” with no discernible motive.

Republicans have been critical of Biden for not publicly addressing Riley’s death. In a letter sent to the White House on Monday, Banks, who has served as Indiana’s 3rd District representative since 2017 and is currently running for U.S. Senate, urged Biden to mention her in his upcoming State of the Union address on Thursday evening.

In a scathing message, Banks expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of acknowledgment surrounding the tragedy. He firmly stated, “It is unacceptable that you have failed to publicly acknowledge this tragedy.” Banks urged the President to seize the upcoming State of the Union address on Thursday, March 7, 2024, as an opportunity to honor Laken Riley’s mother’s wishes and break the silence by mentioning her daughter’s name.

Banks urged President Biden to revive the “immigration policies from the Trump era” in his letter, asserting that these policies effectively reduced the influx of migrants. This statement overlooks the fact that there was a significant increase in border crossings during the final months of Donald Trump’s presidency, as reported by Customs and Border Patrol data.

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The White House was contacted by Newsweek via email on Monday afternoon for comment. If any responses are received, they will be included in an update to this story.

Recently, Biden and other Democrats have criticized Republicans who are upset about the situation at the border for their refusal to support a recent bipartisan Senate bill. This bill aimed to introduce the most significant border policy reforms in a decade.

Many Republicans who opposed the bill have claimed that their opposition is based on its contents. However, there are those who believe that their true motivation is to allow Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, to continue campaigning on border issues until November.

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