WASHINGTON (Gray DC) Lawmakers from both Nebraska and Iowa are continuing to seek justice for a Council Bluffs woman, reintroducing a bill named in her honor.
Now, they're getting help from President Trump, effectively implementing portions of the proposed bill in a new executive order.
This comes exactly one year after Sarah Root, 21, was struck and killed by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally. The driver, Eswin Mejia still remains at large after he was released from custody.
One year after the tragic death of Root, lawmakers from both Iowa and Nebraska are making sure her story isn't forgotten.
“The tragedy of how she was killed by an illegal immigrant in Omaha right after graduating from college," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) explained, "It's a human tragedy and her family hasn't gotten justice.”
That's why Sasse, along with Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are re-introducing Sarah's Law after it didn't pass last session. The bill would require officials to detain illegal immigrants that have been charged with a crime resulting in death or serious injury.
“If an illegal immigrant kills an American and they are detained, they should be held until they stand trial," Sen. Ben Sasse said. "They should not be released on some insignificant bail amount so that they can then just flee the country, which is what happened in this case."
Representative David Young (R-IA) is re-introducing a companion bill in the House.
“We want to make sure we get this through the finish line and we have an administration I think that is more sympathetic to this issue," Rep. Young said.
The Trump administration is already taking action, addressing the issue by implementing parts of the bill in an executive order last week, requiring officials to detain illegal immigrants who have been charged with a crime.
“It requires detention for everybody even just charged with a crime, not even somebody convicted," said Philip Wolgin, the managing director for immigration policy at the Center for American Progress.
Wolgin says both the executive order and the bill come with a number of legal concerns.
“We want to see and make sure these are folks that have been convicted by a jury, so that nobody is being subject to things like mandatory detention just because they have been accused of a crime," Wolgin said.
While Sarah's Law was effectively implemented by President Donald Trump's executive orders, lawmakers are still working to pass the bill to ensure the executive order can't be reversed in the future.