Marjorie Taylor Greene hands out Laken Riley pins ahead of SOTU – after her parents turned down Republican invite

Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene has been handing out Laken Riley pins ahead of the State of the Union even after the murdered student’s parents turned down an invite to attend.

The parents of Ms Riley declined an invitation from Rep Mike Collins, Republican of Georgia.

Ms Riley, 22, a nursing student, was allegedly murdered while jogging on the campus of the University of Georgia.

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

Ms Riley was found unconscious last month and a 26-year-old man from Venezuela was later detained. Police have referred to it as a “crime of opportunity” and the man, Jose Ibarra, has been charged with felony murder, kidnapping, and false imprisonment.

Republicans have been using Ms Riley’s death to lambast the Biden administration’s border policies. The president may use part of his speech on Thursday night to criticise Republicans for rejecting a bipartisan border security bill after former President Donald Trump came out against it.

While handing out the pins, Ms Greene told Fox News that “My district was fine with me calling him a liar last year,” adding that “I’ll decide in the moment” if she’ll make a similar outburst this year.

On Thursday afternoon, the House passed the Laken Riley Act following its introduction by Mr Collins. the legislation requires the detention of any migrant committing burglary or theft.

Police have said that the suspect in Ms Riley’s death crossed the border illegally.

Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson has said that Ms Riley died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Democratic Rep Jerry Nadler criticized the bill on the floor of the lower chamber, saying that the Republicans were “exploiting her death for a partisan stunt” and “throwing together legislation to target immigrants in an election year,” CNN reported.

“Laken Riley would still be alive if the Biden Administration had done its job,” House Speaker Mike Johnson claimed.

“House Republicans are not going to stand by quietly while the President and his administration release dangerous criminals into our communities,” he added. “The Laken Riley Act would help prevent future tragedies. If Senator Schumer and President Biden care to protect Americans and are serious about securing the border, they will bring this legislation up for a vote and sign it into law immediately.”