Valerie Reyes's death, allegedly caused by Portuguese-Venezuelan national Javier Enrique da Silva Rojas, was used in a Republican video to call for the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border
The Republican Party has posted a video on social media where Valerie Reyes's death, allegedly caused by Portuguese-Venezuelan national Javier Enrique da Silva Rojas, is mentioned as an example of "what can happen when border security is neglected," Connecticut's News 12 has reported.
Featuring footage from the TV coverage of Valerie Reyes' murder - a 24-year-old woman who was found dead in an abandoned suitcase in the city of Greenwich -, the video was posted on the Connecticut Republican Party's Twitter account last Thursday, but was removed shorty after due to complaints from the victim's family.
Reyes' relatives said they did not want her name to be used for political purposes.
The video held Connecticut's two Democratic senators responsible for the murder, saying "Valerie Reyes is dead, your silence is deafening."
It also urged the two senators to "secure the border now," adding that the alleged murderer, Javier da Silva, is in the United States illegally.
"What we need is a real, comprehensive immigration reform that will prevent visa overstays that were exploited by this hideous, abhorrent murderer -- not distorted and fictional attempts to exploit this kind of tragic incident," said Richard Blumenthal.
Several news outlets report that the suspect, who holds dual citizenship in Venezuela and Portugal, flew to the United States from Portugal, while others say it was from Venezuela.
Portuguese citizens can apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) visa waiver and visit the US for up to 90 days.
According to the police, Javier da Silva entered the US in May 2017, which means that he has overstayed his visa for a year and a half.
The victim's mother agrees that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) has failed but asked for the video to be removed, saying Valerie Reyes's death should not be used in partisan discussions about immigration.