MATTHEWS: Georgia murder case puts spotlight on Joe Biden’s border crisis

On Feb. 22, Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley, 22, was found dead on the University of Georgia (UGA) campus after a friend reported her missing after she failed to return from her morning run.

Riley, whose body was found that afternoon “in a forested area behind Lake Herrick” at UGA, reportedly died of blunt force trauma, with her skull being “disfigured” per arrest affidavits. Police have said her killing was a “crime of opportunity.”

A 26-year-old Venezuelan man, Jose Antonio Ibarra, who authorities say is in the country illegally, has been charged with her kidnapping and murder.

Per U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ibarra entered the United States illegally in September 2022. Though he was arrested, he was later “paroled and released for further processing.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported that Ibarra “has a criminal history, but it does not include violence.”

Riley’s murder case has brought national attention to the illegal immigration issue and has pointed an unflattering spotlight on Democrat-run so-called sanctuary cities and President Joe Biden’s disastrous open-border policies in a crucial presidential election year.

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, the likely nominee, and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) have been among many prominent Republicans to speak out on the case and criticize Biden.

On Saturday, Riley’s mother, Allyson Phillips, posted a statement to Facebook, saying, “It would be really easy to lose our faith in mankind because of this senseless and avoidable tragedy.”

Senseless and avoidable indeed.

Tensions boiled over during a press conference held last Wednesday by Athens-Clarke County Mayor Kelly Girtz (D), who sought to counter accusations of Athens being a sanctuary city but who was instead confronted by angry residents who called him a “liar” and demanded he resign immediately.

Unlike other high-profile cases, Joe Biden has not said anything publicly about Riley’s case. Generic statements have come from various officials in his administration, including White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“I mean, this is a horrific, horrific loss for any family. And obviously, any … if whoever is found guilty we need to make sure that … make sure that happens. And obviously, we don’t want to, we don’t want to see anything happen like that again,” Jean-Pierre said during an interview on CNN while, incredibly, blaming Republicans for Biden’s border crisis.

In a Sunday “Face the Nation” interview, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who was impeached by the House last month, dodged and weaved all over the place in response to questions about Riley’s case, refusing to say if Ibarra should have previously been deported.

Incredibly on Friday, the day of Riley’s funeral in Woodstock, Georgia, Biden was tweeting about … George Floyd.

“Congress must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can make police reform the law of the land,” Biden wrote.

First Lady Jill Biden happened to be in Georgia on Friday, about 45 minutes from where services were held for Riley, but she had other plans.

“First Lady Jill Biden will launch a national organization in Atlanta that aims to mobilize women behind President Joe Biden’s bid for a second term,” the AJC’s Greg Bluestein tweeted.

The tone-deafness and insensitivity of the Biden administration on the Riley murder case will not be forgotten. The issues of illegal immigration and the economy could be Biden’s downfall come November, but that’s only if Republicans keep these issues — and the consequences of inaction — front and center in the minds of voters from now until Election Day.

North Carolina native Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a media analyst and regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.