- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Budget deal to get quick vote in the House
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro ‘marriage’
- Sebelius calls for review of Obamacare rollout woes
Boston bomb case’s findings may delay Senate immigration legislation
Supporters say reform is vital
The authors of the Senate immigration bill are mounting a campaign to try to make sure the Boston Marathon bombings last week don't derail their push to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, saying the problems lie more with the FBI than with legal immigration.
In the wake of the revelation that the two men suspected of the bombings were immigrants, some on Capitol Hill said it should be a reason to slow down enactment of an immigration reform bill.
But Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and one of eight senators who wrote the immigration legislation, said they won't accept a delay.
"There are some, some on the hard right, some otherwise, who opposed our immigration bill from the get-go, and they're using this as an excuse. We are not going to let them do that," Mr. Schumer said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "We're not going to let them use what happened in Boston as an excuse because our law toughens things up."
At stake is a fundamental disagreement over whether legalizing illegal immigrants and allowing more legal immigration makes the U.S. safer or endangers it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and another co-author of the bill, said legalizing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants will help weed out people with terrorist intentions and let law enforcement focus on real threats.
"I think now is the time to bring all the 11 million out of the shadows and find out who they are. Most of them are here to work, but we may find some terrorists in our midst who have been hiding in the shadows," Mr. Graham said.
He said his immediate questions about the bombings aren't for immigration officials but for the FBI, which reportedly interviewed one of the suspects two years ago to inquire about potential ties to terrorism.
But other lawmakers have said the government needs to fully understand the failures of the Boston bombings case before enacting an immigration bill that could weaken national security.
"Given the events of this week, it's important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system," Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Friday.
He spoke at a hearing that was called to begin debate on the immigration bill. That legislation would grant legal status to illegal immigrants, but would withhold a full pathway to citizenship until the Homeland Security Department took steps to bolster border security and better track people entering and leaving the U.S.
The two men suspected in the bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a shootout with police, and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was arrested, were admitted as minors to the U.S. on grants of asylum.
The Homeland Security Department was considering the elder brother's application for citizenship, though officials reportedly delayed the process because they were looking into why the FBI interviewed him in 2011.
The immigration bill doesn't focus on the asylum system, but does make some tweaks such as allowing applicants extra time to meet deadlines and allowing them to petition to have their cases reheard.
Mr. Schumer said the asylum program already has been tightened and that if the Tsarnaevs applied now, they might not have been allowed into the country.
Indeed, asylum grants have dipped from a peak of about 40,000 a year a decade ago to about 25,000 applications in 2011.
But Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, told The Washington Times that he still has questions about the asylum system and said the Senate should slow down the push for immigration.
"I can't imagine the Senate moving quickly on this and trying to pass a bill out of the Senate before we get to the bottom of the Boston Marathon bombers. The American people just won't stand for that," Mr. King said.
World events have affected other immigration debates. In 2002, Congress was poised to pass a mini-amnesty, but it fell victim to concerns stemming from the Sept. 11 bombing months earlier. President George W. Bush's hopes for a broader legalization also petered out.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
- Federal deficit shrinks 20 percent in fiscal 2014
- Wind farms: Interior Department sacrifices eagle protection for alternative energy
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bipartisan House votes against 'patent trolls' who file lawsuits against innovators
- Bipartisan House votes to stop patent 'trolls'
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Human interest stories to feed interest, satisfy curiosity and see outside the box.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow