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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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President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal has economists and bullish market analysts revising their U.S. growth expectations higher, predicting a reflation of the economy in 2021 and possibly more booming returns for risk assets.

Yes, but: Others are warning that what's expected to be reflation could actually show up as inflation, a much less welcome phenomenon.

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CES was largely irrelevant this year

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Forced online by the pandemic and overshadowed by the attack on the Capitol, the 2021 edition of CES was mostly an afterthought as media's attention focused elsewhere.

Why it matters: The consumer electronics trade show is the cornerstone event for the Consumer Technology Association and Las Vegas has been the traditional early-January gathering place for the tech industry.

The FBI is tracing a digital trail to Capitol rioters

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Capitol rioters, eager to share proof of their efforts with other extremists online, have so far left a digital footprint of at least 140,000 images that is making it easier for federal law enforcement officials to capture and arrest them.

The big picture: Law enforcement's use of digital tracing isn't new, and has long been at the center of fierce battles over privacy and civil liberties. The Capitol siege is opening a fresh front in that debate.