Laken Riley’s father fears his daughter’s death will be used as a political wedge in the immigration debate

Photo of author


Laken Riley’s father said he fears his daughter is being used as a political pawn in the ongoing immigration debate.

Jason Riley said In an interview that aired Monday on NBC’s “Today” show that she wanted her daughter’s death not to be used to score political points. Laken Riley, 22, was found dead on the University of Georgia campus last month after her roommate reported her missing.

“I would prefer that she not be so political, as they say: she started a storm in our country,” he told NBC, adding that her death has “incited a lot of people.”

The suspect in his murder is José Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen who entered the United States illegally in 2022, according to police. Since then, Republicans have used his death as a rallying cry to enact stricter immigration and border policies, efforts that have been criticized by Democrats.

Jason Riley said “there are people on both sides” who have lashed out at him and Riley’s mother since her daughter’s death.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) invoked Riley’s name during President Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this month, prompting Biden take out a pin with Riley’s name on it.

“Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was murdered by an illegal. That’s right,” Biden said. “But how many thousands of people are being murdered by legal agents? To your parents I say: My heart goes out to you for having lost children.”

Jason Riley did not criticize specific politicians, but said he was “angry” that their deaths are being used to get votes.

“I think it’s being used politically to get those votes,” he said. “It makes me angry. I feel like, you know, they’re just using my daughter’s name for that. And she was so much better than that, and she should be raised as the person that she is. She was an angel.”

He also said he avoids media coverage of his daughter’s case.

“I was only 22 years old. She had a lot of life left to give to the world,” she said.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Leave a comment