A mother whose 20-year-old daughter was murdered, allegedly by a suspected MS-13 gang member who had been released into the U.S. as an unaccompanied minor, gave an emotional plea to lawmakers on Tuesday to secure the southern border -- warning that the crisis 'is a safety issue for everyone living in the United States.'
'For me, this is not a political issue. This is a safety issue for everyone living in the United States,' Tammy Nobles, whose daughter Kayla Hamilton was killed last year, told lawmakers on a Judiciary Committee immigration subcommittee. 'This could have been anyone's daughter. Kayla wasn't doing anything wrong, and she didn't deserve to be murdered. I don't want any other parents to live the nightmare I am living.'
'I am her voice now, and I am going to fight with everything I have to get her story told and bring awareness of the issue at the border,' she said.
Hamilton, who was autistic, was raped and killed in her mobile home last year. Earlier this year, police arrested an El Salvadoran 17-year-old who authorities said is linked to the MS-13 street gang and who was released into the U.S. into the custody of his aunt after being encountered at the border.
An interim staff Judiciary committee report released Tuesday faulted the Biden administration for a failure to vet the suspect, calling it a 'tragic example of the failure to enforce U.S. immigration law.'
'Tragically, Secretary Mayorkas and his department missed key warning signs about the alien’s propensity for violence, which law enforcement officials investigating the murder later uncovered,' the report says.
A DHS official told Fox News Digital that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reviews both biometric and biographic information for those encountered at the border against several federal agencies' databases.
'If we determine that the individuals pose a threat to national security or public safety, we deny admission, detain, remove, or turn them over to another agency for prosecution, as appropriate. We work closely with our interagency and international partners to detect and prevent people who pose national security or public safety risks from entering the United States,' the official said.
At the hearing, Nobles paid tribute to her daughter.
'She always kept her friends close and never forgot anyone. She was kind, caring, thoughtful and funny. She loved life and God. She showed the world that being yourself was okay, and you didn't have to follow everyone else,' she said.
She described in harrowing terms the night that Kayla was killed, describing how he allegedly used an iPod charger to strangle her before sexually assaulting her. He allegedly robbed her of her phone and $6.
She then spoke about how the U.S. needs to secure its southern border.
'The United States government has to secure our border. We need to properly vet all border crossers. The government could have placed a phone call to authorities in El Salvador and found out that he was a gang member. But they didn't,' she said.
'If we had stricter border policies, my daughter would still be nothing will bring my daughter back, nor the pain, nor fix. I'm not having her here and I want to prevent this from happening to someone else's child. This is about protecting everyone here in the United States.'
The testimony came during the third in a series of hearings held by Republicans on the committee on 'Biden’s Border Crisis.' Republicans have blamed the policies of the administration for the ongoing crisis at the border -- including a greater use of 'catch-and-release' and reduced interior enforcement
Democrats and the administration have accused Republicans of failing to provide additional resources to secure ports of entry, and of refusing to work with Democrats on a 'comprehensive' immigration reform bill to fix what they say is a 'broken' immigration system.
Fox News' Mitch Picasso contributed to this report.