MONTEZUMA, Iowa (AP) — Immigration authorities say they have no record of granting admission into the United States to the man suspected of killing an Iowa college student.
A spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Wednesday that a search of the agency’s records found nothing indicating that Cristhian Bahena Rivera “has any immigration status.”
That potentially contradicts the statement of Rivera’s attorney that he “has the legal documents” to work in the United States.
Rivera is accused of killing 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts. His immigration status has drawn national attention, and the White House has said Tibbetts’ death has underscored the need for immigration restrictions proposed by President Donald Trump.
The manager of a dairy farm says Rivera was a good employee who worked there for four years under a fake name.
Dane Lang, manager of Yarrabee Farms in Brooklyn, Iowa, said that Cristhian Bahena Rivera presented an out-of-state government-issued photo identification and a matching social security card when he was hired in 2014. Lang says, “our employee is not who he said he was.”
Lang said the farm ran the information through the Social Security Administration’s employment verification system and it checked out. He said the farm didn’t use the E-Verify system as it asserted in a statement Tuesday night, saying an employee was mistaken.
Lang says he only learned on Tuesday that Rivera was the suspect in the death of Mollie Tibbetts and was shocked. He said that Rivera, whom he knew by a different name that he declined to disclose, continued coming to work after Tibbetts disappeared on July 18 and nobody noticed him acting any differently.
Lang said that Rivera helped take care of the cows on a daily basis, was reliable and got along with his co-workers.