Gaetz Condemns 'Wildly Inappropriate' Denial of Information About Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Pensacola Man

Gaetz Condemns 'Wildly Inappropriate' Denial of Information About Illegal Immigrant Who Killed Pensacola Man

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 14, 2024

The day before University of Georgia student Laken Riley was murdered by Jose Ibarra, an unidentified 21-year-old Pensacola motorcyclist was struck and killed on February 21st by an illegal immigrant driver wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who represents the area in Congress, demanded information about Byron Pineda, the accused, only to be turned down and told he needed a privacy waiver. The Florida Congressman responded in a recent letter, calling the response "wildly inappropriate."

Pineda was arrested after he failed to safely merge lanes, striking the motorcyclist and knocking him into the median, although details remain vague. However, the Florida Highway Patrol noted Pineda had a hold for ICE.

The following day, Rep. Gaetz wrote to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas demanding information about Pineda, such as how, when, and why he was allowed into the United States, why he was wanted by ICE, and if he would be deported if convicted in Florida.

On March 8th, ICE's Congressional Relations Acting Assistant Director Sean Hackbarth answered, "For ICE to release information to you about Mr. Pineda, DHS requires that he specify the information he authorizes ICE to disclose and provide consent for his information to be released. This consent must be in writing and must identify the records or information he agrees to have released and the person to whom he would like the records or information released. This consent must be signed by Mr. Pineda."

Rep. Gaetz did not mince words when he called this response "wildly inappropriate" and "tone-deaf to recommend that a member of Congress seek a Privacy Act waiver from an illegal alien who murdered a constituent of mine."

Moreover, Gaetz pointed out that his request did not violate the Privacy Act or fall under materials exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, and the Pineda case would qualify as district work as a member of Congress.

"It cannot be the case that if I ask the Department of Defense, "what are you going to do about an attack on U.S. servicemembers," that an adequate response might be, "explaining what we are going to do will violate the rights of those who died, or those who carried out the attack."

Similarly, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) had recently demanded information on Jose Ibarra, the man who murdered Laken Riley.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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