Aug 23, 2018

Citizenship status of suspect in killing of Iowa student called into question

University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, 20. Photo: Screenshot via CBS News YouTube

The arrest of a murder suspect this week, who police had said is an undocumented immigrant responsible for the killing of 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, has reignited the debate about America's immigration policies.

What’s happening: On Wednesday, the legal status of 24-year-old suspect Cristhian Bahena Rivera came into question. Rivera’s attorney, Allan Richards, said in court filings that his client has been living in the country legally — contradicting what immigration authorities told the Associated Press.

The details: A spokesperson for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told the AP that the agency found no records on Rivera’s legal status. Immigration authorities also reportedly said they have no record of granting Rivera legal entry into the U.S.

  • Rivera, who appeared in court on Wednesday, is facing a first-degree murder charge and life without parole.
  • His employer told the AP that he learned Rivera, who had been working on a dairy farm since 2014, has been using a false name after seeing reports of the arrest. Rivera had reportedly presented an out-of-state government ID and a matching Social Security card.
  • Rivera's attorney has confirmed that Rivera received his paycheck under a different name and that his immigration status is now uncertain, per the AP.

The big picture: At a campaign rally Tuesday night in Charleston, West Virginia President Trump sought to link the case to the country's immigration laws.

  • "You heard about today, with the illegal alien coming in from, very sadly, from Mexico. ... The laws are so bad. The immigration laws are a such a disgrace," he said.

The other side: Reuters reports that Iowa congressional Republicans and other candidates competing in competitive districts have avoided politicizing the case amid fears of voter backlash.

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In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday he hopes to reach a trade deal with his ""true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country "except he's a very tough negotiator."

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonstrated the importance of the visit with a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 32 mins ago - World

Coronavirus spreads to more countries as cases in South Korea surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain each reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus, Al Jazeera first reported, as infections in South Korea, Italy and mainland China continued to increase on Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 45 mins ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy