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WHAT MONTANANS ARE READING: Jon Tester Co-Sponsors Laken Riley Act

Campaign News May 10, 2024

Jon backs Laken Riley Act to hold those who enter our country and commit a crime accountable and protect Montana families


BILLINGS – Yesterday, third-generation dirt farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester co-sponsored the Laken Riley Act to keep Montana communities safe and hold those who enter our country and commit crimes accountable. Jon is the only Democrat to co-sponsor the bill.


Protecting Montanans will always be Jon’s number one priority. That’s why he has continued to push the Biden Administration to do more to secure the border, and supported a strong bipartisan deal to get our border under control earlier this year. Jon remains committed to working with anyone in Congress to secure the southern border and protect our national security, and he’ll continue to demand that Congress put politics aside to reach a bipartisan solution and deliver solutions for the American people. 


Helena Independent Record: Democrat Jon Tester announces he will co-sponsor GOP immigration bill

By Victoria Eavis

May 9, 2024

  • Jon Tester became the first Democratic U.S. senator to announce he plans to co-sponsor a Republican-championed immigration bill Thursday, marking yet another hard-line border security move by the incumbent in recent months.
  • The Laken Riley Act would require the Department of Homeland Security to detain migrants who are “unlawfully present in the United States” and are “arrested for burglary, theft, larceny, or shoplifting.” The bill also authorizes states to sue the federal government for “decisions or alleged failures related to immigration enforcement.”
  • The bill passed the U.S. House in early March with the support of all Republicans and 37 Democrats.
  • “Keeping Montana safe is my top priority, which is why I’ve repeatedly called on the Biden Administration and Congress to do more to secure the southern border and have worked to get the brave men and women in law enforcement what they need to keep criminals off our streets,” Tester said in a statement. “After hearing from law enforcement officers across Montana, I’m backing the Laken Riley Act to make sure that individuals who enter our country and commit a crime are held accountable so that no Montana family has to worry about the safety of their loved ones.”
  • The claim that Tester previously voted against the bill is misleading.
  • That amendment was one of a handful that put the government at risk of shutting down. If the Laken Riley amendment would have passed, the bill would have to return to the House for a vote, which would have triggered a partial government shutdown.
  • This is not the first time his challenger has claimed Tester voted against the bill: Since that vote on the appropriations package, Sheehy and other prominent Republicans have frequently claimed that Tester voted against the Laken Riley Act.


ABC News: Democratic Sen. Jon Tester to back GOP-championed Laken Riley Act

By Allison Pecorin

May 9, 2024

  • Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester continued his efforts to distinguish himself as a border security hard-liner on Thursday by becoming the first Senate Democrat to back an immigration bill that has been championed by Republicans in both chambers of Congress.
  • On Thursday afternoon, Tester announced his intention to co-sponsor the Laken Riley Act, a bill named after a 22-year-old nursing student who was killed while out on a run near the University of Georgia campus in February.
  • Tester became the first Senate Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation, joining a slate of GOP co-sponsors. 


NonStop Local: Sen. Tester Co-Sponsors Laken Riley Act

May 9, 2024



NBC Montana: Tester becomes first Democrat to co-sponsor Laken Riley Act

By Bowen West

May 9, 2024

  • Senator Jon Tester became the first Democrat in the U.S. Senate to co-sponsor the Laken Riley Act.
  • This piece of legislation requires federal officials to detain illegal immigrants who commit certain crimes until they can be removed from the U.S.
  • In a statement, Tester said he supported the bill to continue securing the southern border and stopping the flow of fentanyl to Montana.


New York Post: Vulnerable Senate Democrat backs Laken Riley Act after calling border crisis ‘unacceptable’

By Victor Nava

May 9, 2024

  • One day after calling the border crisis “unacceptable,” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Thursday became the first Senate Democrat to back the Laken Riley Act.
  • The Montana Democrat’s outspokenness on immigration issues comes as he faces a difficult re-election battle in a red state where his three previous electoral victories have been by narrow margins.
  • Several Republican senators have lined up to co-sponsor the measure but Tester, 67, is the only Democrat.
  • Tester’s support for the legislation followed a stern exchange with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing on Wednesday.