Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student whose body was...

Mollie Tibbetts, a University of Iowa student whose body was found in late August. Credit: Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation via AP

The killing of Mollie Tibbetts was a tragedy for her family, friends, and all who knew her [“Iowa suspect’s status disputed,” News, Aug. 23]. Police say the killer was an immigrant here illegally. No sooner was this discovered than President Donald Trump used it to push for his border wall. It’s understandable why people might think that building a wall is a smart way to reduce these crimes — until you look at the facts.

Data show that illegal immigrants actually commit crimes at a lower rate than American citizens do. Reducing illegal immigration will to some degree reduce crime, but only because it will reduce the population. Reducing overall population by any method will reduce the number of crimes that are committed, but reducing the number of illegal immigrants will not reduce crime as much as if we reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies and children born into poverty. If reducing crime were the Republicans’ true goal, they would support access to birth control, choice, and programs that lift people out of poverty, but these are the very programs that Republicans fiercely oppose.

The wall is not about reducing crime. It’s about pandering to fear and bigotry and it points out the hypocrisy of the president and the Republican Party.

Michael Melgar, Glen Head