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White House claimed border was ‘secure’ days after Georgia student murder suspect entered US illegally

The White House repeatedly said the border was secure in September 2022, the same month Venezuelan immigrant and murder suspect Jose Antonio Ibarra entered the country illegally.

The Biden White House claimed the border was secure, the federal government had a process for processing migrants and that deportations were unreasonable shortly after the suspect in last week’s brutal University of Georgia murder entered the country illegally in September 2022.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre all lauded the administration’s work to secure the southern border and handle migrant flows at the time. Their comments, though, have taken on a new meaning after it was revealed Jose Antonio Ibarra, the suspect charged with murdering former University of Georgia student Laken Riley, crossed into the United States illegally on Sept. 8, 2022, after traveling from Venezuela.

“We have a secure border in that, that is a priority for any nation including ours and our administration,” Harris remarked during an interview with NBC News on Sept. 12, 2022, four days after Ibarra crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.


Harris added that issues related to immigration remained, such as the need for a “pathway for citizenship.”

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One day after Harris’ comments, Jean-Pierre reiterated during a press briefing that the border was secure.

“As far as the border, we’re taking unprecedented action,” she told reporters. “We had to fix something that was broken, especially by the last administration. We’ve secured record levels — this is what we have been able to do — of funding for the Department of Homeland Security.”

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And, during a press briefing two days later on Sept. 15, 2022, Jean-Pierre reiterated that the Biden administration had taken “unprecedented action” to secure the border and “rebuild a safer and orderly process system.” She further boasted that border agents had made 3,000 arrests related to human trafficking enforcement.

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Later that same day, the president repeated Jean-Pierre’s comments in remarks at the annual Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala. Biden also blasted Republicans for “playing politics” in reference to governors sending busloads of illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities.

“I’m proud that the Obama-Biden administration stood up for DREAMers,” Biden said. “My predecessor tried to end DACA, but the Biden-Harris administration is working to preserve it and fortify it. And with Secretary Mayorkas’s leadership, we’re committed to fixing the immigration system.”

“Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props. What they’re doing is simply wrong. It’s un-American. It’s reckless,” he added. “And we have a process in place to manage migrants at the border. We’re working to make sure it’s safe and orderly and humane.”

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Then, on Sept. 20, after a reporter asked Biden why the border had become overwhelmed during his presidency, he said more migrants are coming from certain countries including Venezuela, where Ibarra traveled from weeks earlier. The president then quickly ruled out deportations.

“What’s on my watch now is Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. And the ability to send them back to those states is not rational,” he commented. “You could send them back and have them — we’re working with Mexico and other countries to see if we can stop the flow. But that’s the difference.”

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The comments from Biden, Harris and Jean-Pierre came amid a surge in illegal immigration that began shortly after Biden entered office in early 2021. 

In September 2022, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported 227,547, up 18% year-over-year. The figure represented a far higher number than those reported during the Trump administration, when agents generally reported less than 58,000 encounters in the month of September.

Then-CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus noted at the time that the figure was driven higher by migrants traveling to the U.S. from Venezuela.

LAKEN RILEY MURDER SUSPECT JOSE IBARRA LIVED WITHIN 5-MINUTE WALK OF UGA CRIME SCENE

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that Ibarra entered the U.S. illegally in September 2022. In a statement to Fox News Digital, ICE confirmed he had been encountered by CBP after entering near El Paso, Texas, and was “paroled and released for further processing.”

ICE also confirmed that Ibarra had been arrested by the New York Police Department a year later, on Sept. 14, 2023, and “charged with acting in a manner to injure a child less than 17 and a motor vehicle license violation.”

Police in Georgia accused Ibarra of murdering Riley, a 22-year-old UGA nursing student, and charged him with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another, authorities said on Friday.

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Riley, a nursing student at the neighboring Augusta University was found dead Thursday after she left her dormitory to go on a run.

“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Laken Hope Riley,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “People should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law if they are found to be guilty. Given this is an active case, we would have to refer you to state law enforcement and ICE.”

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about its comments regarding the border being secure in September 2022.

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