Immigration reform and Boston bombing: why some make a connection
Should the Boston bombing be part of the debate on immigration reform? Some say the proposal would make the US more vulnerable, but others say the discussion should not be so narrow.
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“If immigration reform is to become law, then Congress and President Obama must first address the fact that not everyone who comes to America likes us. Indeed, some immigrants want to kill us.
“As the horror of the past week reminds us, America is not immune from terror on its own soil. After 9/11, the country took serious measures to curb the importation of terror and to scrutinize more carefully who is granted a visa to play, work, and study. But it needs to do more.”
But even some critics of the immigration reform bill object to those who would tie it, at this point, to the Boston situation. “Hijacking tragedy to drive public policy debate is just wrong,” says James Jay Carafano, a foreign and defense policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, who says he has a long list of issues with the bill.
After 9/11, he says, a lot of the security measures were knee-jerk reactions that didn’t really help. And while more information may emerge that creates legitimate debate about security or immigration, he says, not enough is known yet, and terrorists are such a tiny percentage of any group that “anybody that wants to revamp any policy … based on the specific acts of a handful of individuals, that’s just stupid.”
If it’s true that the family came here as refugees at least 10 years ago, Ms. Meissner says, people should be questioning what has happened in the suspects’ lives since then, seeing the situation as more parallel with home-grown terrorism rather than an immigration issue.
The security measures associated with immigration have increased dramatically since 9/11, Meissner says. Concerns about the possibility that one or both of the suspects became radicalized through Chechen connections would be a matter for investigation by intelligence agencies, she says, rather than something that could have been predicted when they arrived as children.
A spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida, a member of the so-called Gang of Eight negotiating immigration reform, said in an e-mail to the Monitor Friday: "There are legitimate policy questions to ask and answer about what role our immigration system played, if any, in what happened.
“Regardless of the circumstances in Boston, immigration reform that strengthens our borders and gives us a better accounting of who is in our country and why will improve our national security.
“Americans will reject any attempt to tie the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Boston with the millions of decent, law-abiding immigrants currently living in the US and those hoping to immigrate here in the future."
Associated Press material was used in this report.