". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Laken Riley Is Put to Rest, While Questions about Biden’s Border Never Are

March 4, 2024

It was an image no mother should have to see — a long white hearse carrying the body of her young, once-vibrant daughter. A cold rain fell in Georgia, mixing with the tears of crowds who gathered to watch Laken Riley’s casket leave for the cemetery — a place no one imagined she would be. “I really just have no words,” her mom, Alysson Phillips wrote on Facebook. Neither do any of us. This was, as she wrote painfully, a “senseless and avoidable tragedy.”

By the water where Laken took her last run, someone used black tape to change the name of Lake Herrick from “Lake” to “Laken.” Her brutal murder, at the hands of a criminal who never should have been in the country in the first place, resonates deeply with millions of Americans who are outraged by Joe Biden’s open borders. “My family has faced the most devastating, unimaginable loss that anyone could ever be force[d] to endure,” Alysson wrote emotionally. “I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for being with me and my family during this heartbreaking time.”

It would be really easy, Alysson admitted, “to lose our faith in mankind because of this senseless and avoidable tragedy,” but there’s been so much “love, support and help.” Please pray for us, she asked, as their family tries to “put one foot in front of the other moving forward.”

Their one comfort is that Jose Ibarra, the illegal immigrant police believe is responsible for Laken’s barbaric murder, is in custody. But even the family realizes, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again. The string of violent crimes committed by migrants is exploding across the country — rapes, thefts, assaults, even attacks on police. And what is this White House doing? Blaming Republicans.

At his border photo op Thursday afternoon, the president tried to frame the crisis as a problem only Congress could solve. “They desperately need more resources [at the border],” he claimed. “I’ll say it again: they desperately need more resources, need more agents, more officers, more judges, more equipment in order to secure our border. Folks,” Biden continued, “it’s time for us to move on this. We can’t wait any longer.”

What a joke. As Family Research Council President Tony Perkins pointed out on Thursday’s “Washington Watch,” he was at the border the last year of the Trump administration, and “it was like a ghost town.” Why? Not because Congress had passed any additional laws or allocated any more money. It was because the president “on his own said, ‘We’re shutting down the border.’ And he did it.” Then came his successor, and everything Trump had put in place to secure the border, “Joe Biden and his team undid when he became president.”

A single trip to the border, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) pointed out, isn’t going to change Americans’ minds about where the fault lies. This is “too little, too late — and to the wrong address,” she told Perkins, referencing the fact that Biden intentionally didn’t go to a troublesome spot on the U.S.-Mexico line. “[Joe Biden] spent 50 years avoiding going to the border. He spent the first three years of his administration saying there was not a crisis; the border was secure. Now, all of a sudden [since] border security is the number one issue with the American people, he decides to go there. And what does he do when he gets there? He blames Republicans saying, ‘If you would pass one more bill, give me one more law on the books, and then I’ll do my job.’”

The reality, Blackburn wanted people to know, is that “during his first 100 days in office, he took 94 executive actions and orders that opened the border and made our immigration law weaker. We know Joe Biden’s border policy is an open border, and we know — regardless of how many laws are on the books, how many laws that anyone would pass — he is not going to close that border.”

The team manning our border certainly know it. In a shocking “60 Minutes” interview, former chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, Raul Ortiz, told reporters that in two years working for the administration, “I’ve never had one conversation with the president or vice president.” This is despite the fact that Ortiz, who retired in mid-2023, commanded 21,000 people. So “that’s a problem,” he said bluntly. When he was asked if this White House had sent “mixed messages” to migrants, he replied emphatically, “Most definitely.”

In fact, the relationship between Biden and the men and women expected to handle this crisis on the ground is so strained that the Border Patrol Union (BPU) actually mocked Biden about his visit. With a shirtless picture of the president lounging at the beach, they posted, “Board AF1, take nap. Wake up in [a] place called Brownsville. Read large teleprompter message, ‘It’s all Trump’s fault.’ Board AF1, ask who people in green uniforms were, told they ‘strap’ illegal aliens, express horror, take nap. Wake up, call a lid, hit beach, take nap.”

The day after his speech, BPU aimed directly at the president’s lies. “Wasn’t it Biden who encouraged people from all over the world to ‘surge the border?’” they demanded to know. “Didn’t Biden immediately void all the successful Trump EO’s that were keeping our border under control? Didn’t he publicly and viciously accuse BP agents of criminal assault, then told the world ‘those people will pay,’ and the entire thing was made up BS? Has he apologized or taken responsibility for any of it, or asked forgiveness from the victims of some of the millions of illegal aliens he imported into this country? Yes, yes, yes and no,” they argued. “Instead, he lamely tries to blame all of the mayhem, death, budget busting and misery he’s caused the last 3 years on a failed border bill that never even surfaced until this year, after he’d done all this damage. And the propaganda-loving MSM goes right along with it. He’s a stone cold loser. And if that hurts your feelings, too bad. Enough is enough. We won’t be silenced by leftist thugs.”

Those hard feelings didn’t happen overnight, Blackburn said. But the reality is, this White House has never done anything Border Patrol has asked for, she pointed out. “For 30 years, they’ve been saying … ‘[We] need a physical barrier.’ When you have that physical barrier, you eliminate the ability of the cartels to just run people over our border and into the country and have the U.S. taxpayer finish the job of delivering those people wherever they want to go in the country. They need a barrier. That’s where Build the Wall came from. Donald Trump listened to the Border Patrol. … But Joe Biden, he’s not going to give them a physical barrier, because that would stop the flow of illegal immigration. What he continues to do is try to find ways to make illegal legal.”

And look at the consequences. Communities are overrun, taxpayers are stretched beyond capacity, and crime by illegal immigrants is skyrocketing. Right now, Venezuela has its lowest homicide rate in 22 years, Bloomberg warns, because all of their gangs are coming here. We are absorbing all of the world’s violent and terror factions.

“Look where they’re putting their energy,” Blackburn said of the Biden administration. “They keep trying to make illegal activity legal. They keep trying to normalize lawlessness. They keep pushing two tiers of justice. That is not what the American people [want]. And they’re seeing through this.”

If you were with me in Tennessee visiting with sheriffs and police chiefs, she said, “They would tell you they cannot get their hands around the issue of crime in their communities because of the open border, because the drug cartels and the drug dealers that are coming in, because of the gangs that are coming in. They’re coming into communities that have never had a gang. They are carrying out carjackings and home robberies and smash-and-grabs, and they’re going into neighborhoods and recruiting kids in those cities to be a part of the gangs. And people are saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute, you’ve got to do something.’ And law enforcement continues to say, ‘Secure the border and we can get our arms around this.’”

Maybe if Biden had listened — if he’d finished the wall or forced migrants to stay in Mexico — Laken would still be alive. Unfortunately for her family and so many others, we’ll never know.

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.