Tibbetts’ death sparks controversies, experts say system easily exploited

(AP) – Experts say the systems offered by the U.S. government to check the legal status of workers like the Mexican man now accused of killing an Iowa college student can be easily exploited.

In the case of Cristhian Bahena Rivera, the 24-year-old now charged with murder in the death of Mollie Tibbetts, Rivera’s ex-employer said Wednesday he provided an out-of-state ID card and Social Security number.

Dane Lang, a member of the family that owns Yarrabee Farms, said the family did not use the federal E-Verify system to check Rivera’s identity, correcting information he gave Tuesday.

Both E-Verify and the Social Security Administration’s program, immigration experts say, can be beaten with a state ID and a Social Security number belonging to someone else.

Legal status

Immigration authorities also 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 “lawful” immigration status.

That potentially contradicts the statement of Rivera’s attorney that he “has the legal documents” to work in the United States.

Yarrabee Farms threatened

The manager of a dairy farm that employed the man charged with killing an Iowa college student says he has received dozens of threatening phone messages and other contacts in the last 24 hours, including death threats.

Dane Lang, manager of Yarrabee Farms in Brooklyn, Iowa, says one person threatened to kill his dog and another said he would burn down his farm buildings. Lang says, “this is a really scary situation.”

Lang says the farm employed Cristhian Bahena Rivera for four years but knew him by a different name, which he did not disclose.