Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., said Monday that the death of Laken Riley, a Georgia nursing student allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant, shouldn’t shape immigration policy. 

Jose Antonia Ibarra was arrested and charged with malice murder and a host of other charges in the killing of Riley. The suspect is not a U.S. citizen, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Sunday confirmed that the Venezuelan national entered the U.S. illegally in 2022 and had previously been arrested in New York City in September 2023. 

Porter, a U.S. Senate hopeful, was asked by CNN host Erin Burnett if she shared former President Trump’s outrage over Riley’s death. Trump blasted President Biden’s border policies and said the “invasion” at the southern border was “destroying our country and killing our citizens.”

“I think when a horrible tragedy like this happens, I think whenever we‘re dealing with violent crime, there is a sense of outrage, of sadness and loss. But I think the important thing to focus on is any one instance shouldn‘t shape our overall immigration policy, which has so many different facets, including economic choices about what workers to allow in and how to create prosperity in America. So the situation is tragic and it’s a loss and it’s important to acknowledge that, but also to recognize how all the other parts of immigration policy fit together,” she said.

Katie Porter on CNN

Rep. Katie Porter joined CNN’s Erin Burnett on Monday and asked about Laken Riley’s death.  (Screenshot/CNN)


Burnett also asked Porter if she felt Biden should visit the border in her state, California. The CNN host noted that there were nearly 25,000 migrant border arrests in San Diego in January. 

“I‘m really heartened that President Biden is going to the border. Of course, we would love to have him come visit the border here in California. One of the things I‘ve heard over and over again in Oversight Committee hearings is that our southern border isn‘t a monolith. The challenges that our border personnel and communities face are different in areas where it’s more rural, where there are different cities depending on geography and depending on where migrants are going,” she said. 

She added that if Biden was going to “continue to lead on immigration,” he must go and speak to people on the ground in border communities. 

Asked if she would support the president taking executive action to close the border, she said closing the border didn’t solve any long-term problems.

Hundreds of migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, cross the Rio Grande

Hundreds of migrants, predominantly from Venezuela, cross the Rio Grande with the intention of seeking humanitarian asylum by crossing the border between Mexico and the United States in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on December 05, 2023.   (David Peinado/Anadolu via Getty Images)


“I think executive action is really important. It’s the only way that we‘ve been able to make any progress in addressing immigration at all. But I think we‘ve seen under Title 42 and some other policies that efforts to simply ‘close’ the border is not really solving the longer-term problem, which is that we have not put the resources or the policies at the border,” she responded during her media appearance.

Trump promised to “seal the border,” if elected, and said, “we will begin the largest deportation operation of illegal CRIMINALS in American History!”

The Biden White House reacted to the murder on Monday. 

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty.”

Katie Porter and Biden

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter speaks as U.S. President Joe Biden is seen at the event on lowering costs for American families at Irvine Valley Community College in Irvine, California, United States on October 14, 2022.  (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Adam Shaw, Danielle Wallace and Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.

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