in

Laken Riley’s parents turn down State of the Union invite from Rep. Mike Collins

laken-riley’s-parents-turn-down-state-of-the-union-invite-from-rep.-mike-collins
Laken Riley’s parents turn down State of the Union invite from Rep. Mike Collins

The parents of slain 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley turned down an invite to the State of the Union Thursday from Rep. Mike Collins, according to the congressman.

Collins (R-Ga.), who represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District of Athens where she is believed to have been murdered by a migrant, will have a vacant seat in her honor at the presidential address.

“I invited Laken Riley’s parents to the State of the Union address, but understandably, they have chosen to stay home as they grieve the loss of their daughter,” Collins posted on X.

“Therefore, the seat reserved for my guest will remain vacant to honor Laken and all American victims of illegal alien crime.”

I invited Laken Riley’s parents to the State of the Union address, but understandably, they have chosen to stay home as they grieve the loss of their daughter.

Therefore, the seat reserved for my guest will remain vacant to honor Laken and all American victims of illegal alien…

— Rep. Mike Collins (@RepMikeCollins) March 6, 2024

Laken Riley and her family

Laken Hope Riley (left), her mother, Allyson Phillips (center), and her father, John (right). Facebook / Allyson Phillips

Laken Riley

Laken Riley’s death was caused by blunt force trauma according to authorities. Allyson Phillips/Facebook

Laken Riley's death

Students at the University of Georgia mourned her death. AP

Riley, who had been a student at the University of Georgia in Athens, was out for a morning run last month when she was brutally murdered, according to police.

The suspect behind her murder is Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26, an undocumented Venezuelan migrant, who was residing about a mile from where her body was discovered.

Subsequently, it emerged that Ibarra had been apprehended and then released by US Border Patrol on Sept. 8, 2022, on parole, a process to release migrants when the agency is overwhelmed.

It was also later revealed that Ibarra had at least two run-ins with law enforcement, including for illegally driving a scooter in New York without a license in August and another in connection with a shoplifting case out of Georgia.

Mike Collins

Rep. Mike Collins will have an empty chair to honor Laken Riley during the State of the Union. Rep. Mike Collins/X

Ibarra has since been charged with felony murder, kidnapping, and false imprisonment.

Lawmakers use the State of the Union speech to invite guests who are intended to help them make a statement or further a political cause.

In this case, Riley’s death has been a rallying cry among conservatives on the issue of border security.

“As Joe Biden attempts to paint a rosy picture of the crime-ridden country he has created, he will look up at an empty seat that memorializes those we’ve lost because of his open border policies,” Collins added.

Jose Antonio Ibarra

Jose Antonio Ibarra has since been arrested and charged with the alleged murder. AP

President Biden is widely expected to use his bully pulpit Thursday to address immigration, among other issues.

A smattering of polls indicate that it is a top issue for voters heading into the Nov. 5 presidential election — and a liability for him.

Biden and his party have seized on Republicans’ decision to tank a bipartisan Senate border reform package last month, seeing it as a cudgel to fend off GOP attacks on the border crisis.

President Biden

Thursday will be President Biden’s third State of the Union address. AP

They’ve accused the GOP of scuttling the measure to help former President Donald Trump in his quest to defeat him.

A handful of big-name invitees to Biden’s third State of the Union address have turned down invites, including Ukraine first lady Olena Zelenska and Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

Biden’s address to the joint session of Congress will likely be one of his biggest platforms with the nation writ large before the Nov. 5 rematch with Trump.

ancelotti:-madrid-‘must-improve’-after-ucl-scare

Ancelotti: Madrid ‘must improve’ after UCL scare

‘fart-spray’-prank-causes-evacuation-at-kentucky-high-school,-7-students-treated

‘Fart spray’ prank causes evacuation at Kentucky high school, 7 students treated