WASHINGTON D.C.- It has been three years since Council Bluffs native Sarah Root was struck and killed in Omaha by Edwin Mejia, who entered the country illegally and was driving drunk.
On Thursday, the anniversary of of her death, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, along with Senators Chuck Grassley, Ben Sasse, Deb Fischer and eleven of their colleagues, re-introduced legislation in honor of Sarah. The legislation, aptly named Sarah's Law, would allow federal law enforcement to detain illegal immigrants criminally charged with killing or seriously injuring another person.
Following his arrest for Motor Vehicle Homicide, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to issue a detainer on Mejia. Subsequently, he posted bond, fled the country and still remains at-large.
The legislation would require ICE to make efforts to identify and provide relevant information to the crime victims or their families. Under this law, Mejia would have been detained by law enforcement and not allowed to flee from justice and the Root family would have been kept up-to-date on Mejia’s status.
“It is wholly unacceptable that someone who is here illegally and is responsible for the death of another human being is not considered an enforcement priority nor is detained by ICE. We have an obligation to the Root family, and to the American people, to ensure that no person falls victim to this injustice again. Sarah’s Law brings us one step closer to restoring justice in our broken immigration system by allowing ICE to detain and hold these criminals accountable." -Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).
“The tragic death of Sarah Root three years ago and the ongoing search for her killer underscore the serious attention border security and immigration enforcement require in America. Sarah’s life was cut short by an undocumented immigrant who disregarded the rule of law and decided to get behind the wheel after drinking. The Obama Administration refused to take custody of Sarah’s killer because it didn’t consider him a priority, allowing him to disappear into the shadows. The Roots have been robbed of their daughter, and at least for now, they have been robbed of justice. Our legislation, named in Sarah’s memory, will ensure that those who harm or kill Americans will be taken into custody and removed while also ensuring that victims and their families get the information they deserve from the government as they pursue justice." - Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
“Edwin Mejia’s mugshot shouldn’t be on a most wanted poster — Edwin Mejia should be in jail, serving hard time for the life he took and the pain he left behind. Sarah’s Law is common-sense legislation that Sarah and her family deserve to have signed into law. Congress should waste no time sending this legislation to the President’s desk for his signature.” - Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE).
“No family should have to endure the tragedy and pain the Root family has experienced. Sarah’s Law would end the flawed policies that allowed her killer to evade justice. Let’s honor Sarah’s memory by enacting this important solution to make our communities safer.” -Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE).
“Our family is very grateful for Senator Ernst and her willingness to continue to push for Sarah's Law. It means a lot to us that she is reintroducing this bill on the third anniversary of Sarah's death. This law is to make sure no other family has to go through what our family has. Sarah's killer is still on the run and if this law was in place when she was killed we wouldn't be looking for her killer today – he would be in custody and serving his time.” -Michelle Root, mother of Sarah Root.