When Iowa law officials reported that Mollie Tibbets body was recovered and the suspect in custody was an illegal immigrant from Mexico, all I could think of was how President Trump would use this to his advantage.
From the time when the 20 year-old University of Iowa college student was reported missing after a late night jog in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa to when she was recovered after being missing for 35 days, my initial thoughts about who could have been responsible for kidnapping Tibbets had to be someone who knew her, whether that be a friend or someone who despised her. But an illegal immigrant who had no relationship with Tibbetts was not who I would have expected.
President Trump is no stranger when it comes to blasting immigrants in his campaign rallies and made sure to share his thoughts at a political rally in West Virginia, the day Tibbetts body was found.
“It should’ve never happened,”states President Trump at the rally,“We’ve had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad, the immigration laws are such a disgrace.”
According to the Des Moines Register, 24 year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera had no criminal record at the time of the incident and had been working at the Yarrabee Farms dairy facility in Brooklyn, Iowa for 4 years. During that time, his employers had no idea that he was an illegal immigrant.
Taking this into consideration, I believe Rivera was just an average guy trying to work in America. Like many immigrants, life in their own countries is not good enough, and therefore the idea of starting a new life in America, full of opportunities, is worth taking the risk. However, the reason to why Rivera would kill someone he didn’t know still remains a topic of debate.
In these circumstances, I can understand the family members of the Tibbetts family wanting to keep themselves out of the interest of the media as they begin the long recovery of losing a family member at such a young age. It should be respected by everyone, but that was not the case as news outlets and politicians used Tibbetts death as a form of advertisement to promote harsher immigration laws.
In an open letter to the Des Moines Register, Mollie’s father, Rob Tibbetts responded to the outrage that he and his family had against politicians using Mollie’s death as propaganda.
“To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology. That you’ve been beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death is wrong. We treasure the contribution you bring to the American tapestry in all its color and melody,”
I thought Mr. Tibbetts response demonstrated that one person’s mistake does not correlate with the rest of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. I can understand why anyone would be upset about losing a loved one and wanting revenge for it. But Mr. Tibbetts understands that our country is an incredible place that accepts everyone for who they are, and Mr. Tibbets has my utmost respect for speaking his mind and coming to the protection of those immigrants who don’t deserve to be stereotyped for one person’s actions.
Let’s be honest, crime is something that we all face and is inevitable to happen on a daily basis. It’s something we all have to deal with, but what Trump and his administration fail to notice is that the people who commit criminal offenses are not who they expected.
According to multiple studies obtained by the Washington Post, University of Wisconsin professors Michael T. Light and Ty Miller conducted research focusing on the population levels of cities with high immigrant levels and found evidence that supports the claim that states with higher undocumented immigrants tended to have lower crime rates then states with less undocumented immigrants.
Immigration will always be a focal point in Trump’s campaign as he will continue to spread his message of how immigrants are ruining our country. It is incredibly immature and ignorant how our President continues to put the blame on others whether that be immigrants, Democrats, or his own staff members who are there to support him.
As a result of the death of Mollie Tibbets, Trump and his supporters will continue to stereotype immigrants as criminals even though most if not all immigrants who risk everything they have to move to the United States want to live a better life not only for themselves, but for their family and loved ones as well. Maybe one day President Trump will take some time to understand the daunting challenge of what an immigrant is willing to sacrifice for a better life.