Mollie Tibbetts’ “needless” death at the hands of suspected murderer Cristhian Bahena Rivera — an illegal immigrant — “could have been prevented” if the U.S. had closed the border and enacted meaningful immigration reform, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) resident fellow in law and policy Andrew “Art” Arthur said Wednesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“If [Rivera] hadn’t been in the United States, this murder never would have occurred. And the fact is, every murder is senseless. This one was needless,” Arthur told guest host Jason Chaffetz, a Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman from Utah.
Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student, was reported missing last month after she failed to respond to messages from her boyfriend, Dalton Jack. The five-week manhunt that ensued concluded in tragedy Tuesday when Rivera (pictured above) led authorities to a body believed to be hers.
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Rivera told authorities he saw her jogging, got out of his car and ran alongside her, causing her to feel threatened. She said she was going to call the police, at which point Rivera said he blacked out. He then led authorities to her body.
The suspect worked for four years at Yarrabee Farms in Iowa using false identification, according to the farm’s co-owner. Rivera has been charged with first-degree murder, and his bond was set at $5 million.
“The president is 100 percent correct — not all immigrants are criminals. In fact, the vast majority aren’t. But the ones who are are, and they need to be removed from the United States,” Arthur said.
“We need to do away with sanctuary laws that protect criminal aliens. We need to enforce our immigration law so that we can keep people who have no right to be in the United States out of the United States,” Arthur added. “This is a murder that could have been prevented.”
But Texas-based immigration attorney Francisco Hernandez argued that immigration enforcement advocates are “politicizing” Tibbetts’ murder by using it to decry illegal immigration and border security failures.
“It is relevant that the person committed a murder. It’s not a murder that affects 11 million [illegal immigrants], who the president agrees — we ought to have immigration reform. Why are we mixing the two?” Hernandez asked. “I don’t think we can blame 11 million people for a murder of one person.”
Arthur argued that the “wide open” border is “porous” and “needs to be closed” in order to help prevent more murders like Tibbetts’ death. Noting that the media covered Tibbett’s manhunt “for an entire month,” Arthur said the coverage shifted “as soon as the narrative changed” and involved an illegal immigrant suspect.
“Every network covered it. As soon as the narrative changed, the story got dropped because it didn’t fit the narrative that the networks wanted to carry. It’s that simple,” Arthur said, insisting that some networks are downplaying the illegal immigrant factor.