In response to the arraignment of an alleged rapist, two anti-illegal-immigration activists held a press conference Monday night to air their grievances against Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and the Elm City ID Card.
Bill Farrel of the Southern Connecticut Immigration Reform and Veronica Kivela of the Community Watchdog Project met news outlets outside of Temple Grill to rally against Jose Angel Moreno-Hernandez, a 26-year-old employee at the Temple Street restaurant who was arraigned Monday for allegedly raping and beating a 25-year-old female co-worker in East Rock Park early Friday.
Hamden police reported earlier in the week that Moreno-Hernandez tried to snap the woman’s neck before raping her and driving off.
Farrel and Kivela claimed that the Elm City ID program is responsible for attracting undocumented immigrants to New Haven, asserting that the influx of undocumented immigrants has caused an increase in violent crime. It has not yet been determined whether Moreno-Hernandez is an undocumented immigrant.
DeStefano responded swiftly to the accusations in City Hall Monday night, asserting that the Elm City ID program does not contribute to violent crime, saying that the program does not excuse undocumented immigrants from answering for their crimes. There is no evidence, he said, that links one’s genetic or racial identity to criminal behavior.
City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga reiterated DeStefano’s response Wednesday: “They’re trying to misconstrue what the Elm City ID is about.”
On Tuesday, Kivela said she was dissatisfied with the response from the Mayor’s Office, asserting that DeStefano is attempting to escape responsibility in the rape case.
“This man [DeStefano] has the audacity to suggest that American citizens commit more crime than people from other countries, who are sneaking into America,” Kivela said. “How dare he? I am so offended.”
Dustin Gold, President of the CWP, said Wednesday that the protest was precipitated by contact that had been made between the CWP and the family of the yet-unnamed rape victim. The victim’s family, Gold said, contacted the CWP in search of “information and guidance” in light of the possibility that the victim’s rapist may have been an undocumented immigrant. Gold said they viewed the rape as a “wake-up call” to the influx of illegal immigrants to New Haven. Gold said he forwarded written correspondence — letters sent between the CWP and the Mayor’s Office regarding the Elm City ID program — to the victim’s family.
A two-day registration drive for the Elm City ID targeted at Yale students ended Wednesday in Dwight Hall. In all, 22 Yale students registered for the card.