WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, law enforcement officials arrested Cristhian Bahena Rivera and charged him with first-degree murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa.
“This is an awful tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tibbetts family,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
Although many facts in the case and regarding Rivera’s immigration circumstances are not yet known, reports indicate that he is an undocumented immigrant who was employed at a dairy farm. His employer said he cleared an E-Verify check. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sent a detainer request to local authorities and could take custody of Rivera should he be released from local custody.
“Evidence shows that immigrants do not represent a threat to public safety any more than every other segment of the population,” as a Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force fact sheet notes. “Decades of research [have] demonstrated that immigrants are less prone to criminal behavior than the native-born.”
Information about the E-Verify program is available here.
“The murderer should be brought to justice,” Noorani added. “As horrible as this crime was, a crime like this does not represent the contributions, compassion, and work ethic of immigrants, documented or not, who live in the U.S. Our political leaders should refrain from using this heartbreaking incident to further politicize our immigration debate.”