The murder of a Georgia student sparks a heated debate over immigration policy

Amna Nawaz:

On social media, former President Trump said – quote – “Biden's border invasion is destroying our country and killing our citizens.”

And he reiterated his campaign promise to – quote – “seal the border and deport illegal criminals.” The White House has offered its condolences to Riley's family but has not directly responded to the Republicans' allegations, as both Biden and Trump plan dueling border visits to Texas on Thursday this week.

And to provide some context to these questions surrounding immigration and crime, I'm joined now by Charis Kubrin. She is a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Irvine and co-author of the book “Immigration and Crime: Taking Stock.”

Professor, let's start with the obvious. Our thoughts are obviously with Laken Riley's family and friends on the senseless loss of a young woman's life. Authorities also announced today that her death was due to blunt force trauma. And the defendant here, as we know, is an illegal immigrant. These are all facts.

What do you think of the larger discussion surrounding these facts at the moment?

Charis Kubrin, University of California, Irvine: When I heard about this tragic event, my heart immediately sank. Of course that's the first reaction I had.

But the second point is, uh-oh, I hope this isn't exploited – this terrible event isn't exploited for political gain. And it appears that is essentially what is happening. We see that a tragic event becomes the catalyst for a truly restrictive policy towards immigrants.