Laken Riley's Heartbroken Dad Speaks Out, Killer 'Might Not Have Been Here Had We Had Secure Borders'

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The father of Laken Riley, the 22-year-old nursing student who was murdered by Venezuelan illegal alien Jose Ibarra, spoke publicly for the first time Monday since news broke of his daughter’s death. Riey’s stepdad and mother previously met with former President Donald Trump.


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Appearing on NBC’s “TODAY,” Jason Riley expressed disappointment that the issue has become a hot topic politically but also pointed out that Ibarra should not have been here in the first place.

“We have no idea if that would have changed anything, but he’s here illegally,” Jason Riley said. “That he might not have been here had we had secure borders…”

“I understand them wanting to come here for a better life,” he said of migrants, “but when you have gang members and people who can commit violent crimes, especially against women, I think we can stop some of that.”

He mourned his daughter:

I wish I would have been there to protect her. I wish it would have been me.


The circumstances of her death seem all too familiar:

Jose Ibarra, a 26-year-old Venezuelan illegal immigrant charged with Riley’s murder, entered the United States through El Paso, Texas, in 2022 and was freed on border parole. He initially lived in New York City, where he was arrested for endangering a child prior to his move to Athens, Georgia.

Riley, however, is also upset that his daughter’s murder has become a political football and a focal point of discussions about Biden’s porous border and the millions of illegal aliens the president has allowed to slip in under his watch. 

“I’d rather her not be such a political, how you say — it started a storm in our country,” Jason Riley said of his daughter’s death, “and it’s incited a lot of people.”

As a result of the divisiveness, he said, “there’s people on both sides that have lashed out at our families,” referring to him and Riley’s mother.

Although Riley says he’s a Trump supporter, he feels his daughter should be remembered for herself, not just as a political rallying cry.

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

Laken’s mom has also spoken out:


Laken Riley’s Mom Posts Heartbreaking Message to Facebook, Calls Murder by Illegal an ‘Avoidable Tragedy’

As a father, my heart breaks for Jason Riley when he talks about missing his daughter. Although her murder does highlight the Biden-produced disaster at the southern border and brings attention to the fact that we cannot continue like this, she was nevertheless much more than a political slogan.

“It was really surreal. I just didn’t want to believe it — it’s still hard to believe,” Jason Riley said of what happened, choking back tears. “I wake up every day thinking that I can call her, and I can’t.”


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