Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) is calling on President Joe Biden to break his silence on the murder of 22-year-old Laken Riley, allegedly at the hands of an illegal alien released into the United States, during his State of the Union (SOTU) address.

On February 22, Laken Riley went for a morning jog around the University of Georgia (UGA) campus in Athens, Georgia. Riley was a nursing student at nearby Augusta University.

When Riley did not return for hours, her roommate called the police. Her body was ultimately found brutally disfigured near Lake Herrick on UGA’s campus. The following day, 26-year-old illegal alien Jose Antonio Ibarra from Venezuela was arrested and charged with her murder.

Jose Antonio Ibarra (Clarke County Sheriff’s Office)

Ibarra was released into the U.S. interior via Biden’s parole pipeline in September 2022 after crossing the southern border. He was arrested in the sanctuary city of New York City as well as Athens in 2023, before Riley’s murder, but was never turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

In a letter to Biden on Monday, Banks said the president should acknowledge Riley in his SOTU address:

As president, you have the executive authority to reinstate the successful Trump-era immigration policies that you reversed, such as Remain in Mexico, Title 42, and construction of the border wall. These Trump policies were effective and would significantly contribute to securing our borders and protecting the lives of innocent Americans. [Emphasis added]

Your failure to publicly acknowledge this tragedy is unacceptable. You have a great opportunity to respect the wishes of Laken Riley’s mother by breaking your silence and saying her name at the upcoming State of the Union address on Thursday, March 7, 2024. [Emphasis added]

Laken Hope Riley (Photo via Facebook)

Banks, in a statement, said Riley “was living her dream until it was shattered by Joe Biden’s wide-open border” and called her murder “a totally avoidable tragedy.”

“Biden owes it to her family and the American people to say her name,” Banks said.

Angel Mom Allyson Phillips said her daughter’s murder was a “senseless and avoidable tragedy” and has posted a heart-shaped image of Riley with the words “Laken Riley: Say Her Name.”

While visiting the southern border on Thursday, a reporter asked Biden about Riley’s murder, but he ignored the question:

“Mr. President, do you bear any responsibility for Laken Riley’s death?” the reporter asked to no response from Biden. In contrast, presumptive Republican presidential nominee former President Donald Trump revealed that he has spoken with Riley’s parents, whom he called “incredible people.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.