As law enforcement experts work to solve the mystery of last week’s terrorist attacks, several U.S. lawmakers have suggested that we use this time to discuss immigration policy.
In fact, a few have gone so far as to say that current immigration policy is related to (if not directly responsible for) the Boston Marathon bombings. (It should be noted that all the information suggests that the two main suspects went through the legal channels to enter this country.)
So without any further introduction, here are seven Democrat and Republican lawmakers who say now would be a really, really solid time to rethink how we do immigration:
7. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)
“We have a broken immigration system and, if anything, what we see in Boston is that we have to fix and modernize our immigration system for lots of reasons,” Rep. Ryan said, according to Politico.
“National security reasons, economic security reasons. For all those reasons we need to fix our broken immigration system,” he added:
6. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the chief architects of the so-called Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill, six days after the Boston bombings said that comprehensive immigration reform will help make the U.S. safer.
“Immigration reform will make us safer,” the majority whip and Gang of Eight architect said during a Sunday broadcast of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He said the bill’s border security provisions will bolster U.S. security and explained that legalizing millions of illegal immigrants will somehow give the feds an idea of who is in the country:
“There are four specific provisions in this immigration reform bill that will make America safer. We are going to have a stronger border with Mexico,” he said. “We are going to have 11 million people come forward and have an opportunity to register with our government, out of the shadows. We’re going to have verification of employment in the work place.”
“And we’re finally going to have a system where we can track visa holders who visit the United States to make sure that they leave when they’re supposed to. So this is part of the ongoing conversation about a safer America and the immigration reform bill moves us closer,” he added.
5.Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
“I disagree with those who say that the terrorist attack in Boston has no bearing on the immigration debate. Any immigration reform we pursue should make our country safer and more secure,” said Rubio, another Gang of Eight member, in a statement on Monday.
“If there are flaws in our immigration system that were exposed by the attack in Boston, any immigration reform passed by Congress this year should address those flaws. Congress needs time to conduct more hearings and investigate how our immigration and national security systems could be improved going forward.
“The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed,” he added.
4. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), yet another Gang of Eight member, said on Tuesday that comprehensive immigration reform will help prevent future terrorist attacks.
“This is an opportunity to beef up our security in terms of our immigration system,” the senator said during an MSNBC interview:
“I just simply believe, if anything, I’d rather know, among the 11 million or so that are undocumented in this country, who is here to pursue the American dream and who would do it harm,” the senator added. “And the only way I’ll do that is to make them come forward, register with the government, and go through a criminal background check.”
3 & 2. Republican Sens. Lindsay and McCain
Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsay Graham (S.C.) wasted no time assuring the public that the Boston bombings wouldn’t slow their efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
In fact, as noted earlier on TheBlaze, the two Gang of Eight members (again!) in a joint statement released on Friday said that the attacks are a good reason to move the immigration debate forward:
In the wake of this week’s terrorist attack in Boston, some have already suggested that the circumstances of this terrible tragedy are justification for delaying or stopping entirely the effort for comprehensive immigration reform.
In fact the opposite is true: Immigration reform will strengthen our nation’s security by helping us identify exactly who has entered our country and who has left – a basic function of government that our broken immigration system is incapable of accomplishing today. The status quo is unacceptable.
We have 11 million people living in the shadows, which leaves this nation vulnerable to a myriad of threats. That is all the more reason why comprehensive immigration reform is so essential.
By modernizing our system of legal immigration, identifying and conducting background checks on people here illegally, and finally securing our border, we will make America more secure.
1. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) agrees that something should be done about U.S. immigration policy, but he strongly cautions against reforming anything until we understand what’s wrong with the system.
“We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system,” Sen. Rand Paul told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a letter.
“Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?
I respectfully request that the Senate consider the following two conditions as part of the comprehensive immigration reform debate: One, the Senate needs a thorough examination of the facts in Massachusetts to see if legislation is necessary to prevent a similar situation in the future.
Two, national security protections must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform to make sure the federal government does everything it can to prevent immigrants with malicious intent from using our immigration system to gain entry into the United States in order to commit future acts of terror.
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