Tibbetts: Is immigration policy to blame?
“Go ahead and play your word games,” said John Kass in the Chicago Tribune, “and then tell me about Mollie Tibbetts.” The 20-year-old Iowa college student “went out for a run, never to come home.” An illegal immigrant, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, has confessed to her murder, but liberals “don’t mind a few dead Americans if they can keep to their political talking points,” shamelessly decrying basic border enforcement as cruel and “racist.” Blame our unserious immigration policies for Tibbetts’ death, said Mark Krikorian in NationalReview.com. The alleged killer reportedly used a stolen identity to work on the books at a dairy farm, paid taxes, and drove a car for years. “That’s a lot of interaction” with government institutions, yet the alleged killer remained “here with impunity.”
Tragedies like this are red meat to President Trump and his base, said Paul Waldman in WashingtonPost.com. The White House tweeted out a video featuring families “permanently separated” from loved ones who had been killed by undocumented immigrants. It’s a favorite tactic in the Trump playbook—take an individual crime, “then use it to argue that immigrants in general are a threat to the safety of every American.” This “strain of immigration hawkery” helped put Trump in the White House, said Dara Lind in Vox.com, but it is “immune to facts.” Immigrants—including illegal immigrants—commit crimes at lower rates than the native-born, and the number of Americans murdered by strangers is extremely small. But Trump wants you to believe “you’re either perfectly safe or you’re not,” and that “nothing that can possibly be done in the name of preserving order is too much”—including building an 1,900-mile-long wall, or deporting millions of innocent, hardworking people.
When my friends and I read about Mollie Tibbetts, said Monica Hesse in WashingtonPost.com, we “weren’t thinking about undocumented immigrants, or statistics, or policy changes.” We were thinking about all the times we have been approached by strange men—many of them white citizens—who reacted with verbal or physical assaults (“You bitch!”) when we turned down their creepy overtures. It happens every day—on buses and subways, on the street, even in workplaces. Every time, we wonder if we are going to wind up raped or dead. Can someone build a wall to protect us from men like that?