President Donald Trump is citing Mollie Tibbetts’ death to encourage support for a southern border wall and stricter immigration laws.
“Mollie Tibbetts, an incredible young woman, is now permanently separated from her family,” Trump says on the video. “A person came in from Mexico illegally and killed her. We need the wall, we need our immigration laws changed, we need our border laws changed. ...”
Trump is referring to Christhian Behena Rivera, 24, who is charged with first-degree murder in Tibbetts’ death. According to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Rivera is an undocumented immigrant, believed to be from Mexico. He worked at Yarrabee Farms, a family-owned dairy farm in Brooklyn, Iowa — Tibbetts’ hometown — for more than four years, his former employer said Wednesday.
Invesitgators say Rivera led them to the 20-year-old Iowa student’s body in a Poweshiek County cornfield on Tuesday. She had been missing since July 18.
“This is one instance of many,” Trump continues on the video. “We have tremendous crime trying to come through the borders. ... The wall is being built. We’ve started it, but we also need the funding for this year’s building of the wall. So, to the family of Mollie Tibbetts, all I can say is ‘God bless you.’”
Rivera is in jail in Poweshiek County on a $5 million bond. His lawyer filed a motion on Wednesday seeking a gag order for the government, saying Rivera is not in the country illegally.