Haitian Migrant in Massachusetts Is Charged With Raping a Teenager


A Haitian migrant has been charged with raping a 15-year-old girl at a hotel serving as a migrant shelter in Massachusetts, authorities said Thursday.

Corey B. Alvarez, 26, was arrested on Thursday and pleaded not guilty at his arraignment that day in Hingham District Court on one count of aggravated rape of a child. He entered the United States lawfully in June 2023 through New York, according to James Covington, a spokesman for the Enforcement and Removal Operations unit of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Boston. But it was unclear through which specific immigration program Mr. Alvarez entered the country.

The charge comes as Boston and other cities grapple with questions over migrant housing and amid intense debate across the country over America’s immigration policy. The killing of a 22-year-old woman at the University of Georgia campus in February became a political flashpoint when a Venezuelan migrant was charged with the crime, with Republicans including former President Donald J. Trump blaming the death on President Biden’s policies. Such statements have struck many liberals as inflammatory rhetoric.

National data has suggested that there is not a causal connection between immigration and crime in the country, and that growth in illegal immigration does not lead to higher local crime rates. Many studies have found that immigrants are less likely than people born in the United States to commit crimes.

In the Massachusetts case, both Mr. Alvarez and the teenager, who is disabled, were living at the Comfort Inn in Rockland, a Boston suburb, according to the Rockland Police. It was not clear whether the girl was also a migrant.

The Comfort Inn is part of a state and federal program to house migrant families, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. There are about 7,500 families enrolled in the emergency shelter system across Massachusetts, with just under 3,900 of them in hotels or motels, according to government figures from Friday. In December, the state reported that just over 3,500 families receiving emergency assistance housing were migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.

After the police reported to the scene, the girl was transported to South Shore Hospital for treatment, authorities said, and Mr. Alvarez’s room was searched, but officers found no visible evidence of the crime. They added that Mr. Alvarez was agreeable to coming to the police station for questioning, and he was not under arrest when he left with the officers.

Mr. Alvarez is currently being held without bail, pending a March 22 hearing, and has surrendered his passport. The investigation is ongoing.

The ICE unit in Boston has lodged an immigration detainer for Mr. Alvarez with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office. This means that office has been asked to notify the federal agency before Mr. Alvarez is released so ICE can take over custody to initiate deportation proceedings against him.

Gov. Maura Healey of Massachusetts told WBZ News on Friday that Mr. Alvarez “was vetted by the state in terms of a background check and a check that we do for all entries to our shelter and he cleared that.”

On X, Mike Johnson, speaker of the House, blamed Mr. Alvarez’s presence in the country on “the President’s reckless border policy.” He added, “There are no reasons for such tragedies to occur.”

Brian Kelley, Mr. Alvarez’s attorney, said in an interview on Saturday that he was frustrated by the harsh rhetoric against migrants, saying critics have “really jumped over a line of presumption of innocence and just assume this young man did this.”

He added that no one “makes these assumptions about any other group of people that are coming into the United States.”

Jenna Russell, Jacey Fortin and Hamed Aleaziz contributed reporting.

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