Boston Bombings Edge Into U.S. Immigration Debate in Congress

Republican Senator Invoked Boston Incident During Debate on Friday

By Reuters

Published April 19, 2013.
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PLEA FOR RESTRAINT

During the hearing, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a leading proponent of the bill, said: “I’d like to ask that all of us not jump to conclusions regarding events in Boston or try to equate those events with this legislation.”

Schumer added, “In general we are a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here, has their fingerprints, photos, etcetera, has the background checks” on foreigners in the United States.

The bill, which was written by four Republican and four Democratic senators, would also spend about $6.5 billion more on U.S. border security and implement other measures to clamp down on companies hiring illegal workers while also imposing stricter methods of tracking those who enter and leave the United States.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Cuban-American and possible 2016 presidential candidate, is one of the sponsors of the legislation, which has been attacked by some conservatives. Rubio was backed by the conservative Tea Party movement when he was first elected to the Senate in 2010.

On Friday, conservative political commentator Ann Coulter referred to the killing of one of the suspected Boston bombers, writing in a tweet: “It’s too bad Suspect Number One won’t be able to be legalized by Marco Rubio now.”

Alex Conant, a Rubio spokesman, said there are “legitimate policy questions to ask and answer about what role our immigration system played, if any, in what happened” in Boston.

But he added, “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 U.S. and those hoping to immigrate here in the future.”


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