April 21st, 2013
03:54 PM ET
12 months ago

After Boston, some call for delaying immigration bill

(CNN) - Another senator raised concerns on Sunday about taking up the new bipartisan immigration reform bill following last week's terror attack in Boston. The two suspects - one of whom was killed in a shootout with police, the other is in federal custody - came to the country legally more than a decade ago.

Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana said Sunday that Congress should wait until the emotional reaction to the violence subsides before tackling immigration legislation.

"We have a broken system, it needs to be reformed," he said on ABC's "This Week." "But I'm afraid we'll rush to some judgments relative to immigration and how it's processed. So let's do it in a rational way rather than an emotional way."

Passing legislation in such a manner, he added, ends up in "bad policy."

GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa made headlines Friday when he said lawmakers shouldn't rush the legislative process "given the events of this week" and was among the first to cite the Boston Marathon bombings in the immigration debate.

"It's important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system," Grassley said at the opening of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nearly 900-page bill.

"How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil? How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.?"

Coats said he agreed with Grassley and argued Capitol Hill needs to take its time on debating the issue.

"We saw some things post-9/11 that were enacted that if we had had a little bit more rational time to think this through, perhaps we wouldn't have had some of the pushback on it," he said.

The two suspects in Monday's bombings are both of Chechen ethnicity but came to the United States in 2002 and 2006 from Kyrgyzstan. They were granted asylum and the younger brother became a naturalized citizen last year.

Those supportive of the new immigration plan, however, strongly hit back against critics on Sunday, saying the recent events in Boston are no reason to delay immigration reform.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, one of the "Gang of Eight" senators who drafted the immigration plan, said some on the right who opposed the bill "from the get-go" are simply using Boston "as an excuse" to stall the legislation.

"We are not going to let them do that," the Democratic senator said on CNN's "State of the Union." "If they have a reason, a suggestion as to how to change it based on what happened in Boston, we'll certainly be open to it. But we're not going to let them use what happened in Boston as an excuse, because our law toughens things up."

On the same program, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham - another Gang of Eight member - added that lawmakers who disagree can attempt to add amendments and debate their case and even vote against the bill. But he reiterated that the terror attack is no reason to stall it.

"We need to move on," he said.

A third Gang of Eight member, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said their bill will make the country safer.

"The worst thing we can do is nothing. If we do nothing, leaving 11 million people in the shadows, not making our border safer, not having the information that comes from employment and these visa holders, we will be less safe in America," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

– CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

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soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    Republican politicians are heading into a major killing field in the next election with thier current behavior on Boston marathon suspects/ alleged perpetrators and ooops wait on immigration reform and Ooops dont vote for gun laws its just emotional re-actions not good law or more accurately not good politics.
    There's a very famous poem( credits given) an extract is ( its from or about the crimean war)
    " into the valley of death rode the the six hundred
    canon to right of them and cannon to left of them volleyed and thundered"
    and the battle cry was
    " ours is not to reason why
    ours is but to do and die"
    Republicans are not listening or respecting what the people say
    But we the people will soon have our day.
    Because they only wish our President to demagogue
    because we are a party of fixed ideologues.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    April 22, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  2. Giovanni

    Tenie your argument is flawed. Out of the Milllions of immigrants (which your ancestors once were,) two "legal" immigrants decide to follow an evil plan and hurt us... But what about the rest who didn't hurt anyone? Where do you see this "flood" of harmful "legal" immigrants? And the "criminals" you refer to which I assume are the "illegals," what makes them criminals? Sneaking across a border to find a job where they will wake up at 5 am and come home at 6 pm only to try and rest their backs to repeat the same thing the next day... Working in extreme heat and cold, hauling bricks and lumber, all for minimum wage... We don't complain when their cheaply paid hard work lowers our expenses and costs for goods but God forbid they ask for legal status after 5 years of being here... They didn't come to this country leaving their families and children behind because their lives here would easy... And risk their lives in that horrid trip through the desert just to enjoy the discrimination we show them... No, they came here because WE hire them, and because even at minimum wage doing the hard, tedious, painful, dirty jobs, its still a better opportunity at working than what they had back at home... Most of the so called "illegals" aren't criminals... They are mostly good hard working people who only want to better themselves and their families... I know and fully understand that our Immigration system is flawed but why not try and fix it! Not ignore it and continue letting the problem get bigger... Do we need to control our borders? Of course! Why don't we start the process and fix our issues not just complain and hate and repeat what pundits and so-called conservative talk radio hosts or faux news chains keep on repeating...

    April 22, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  3. Minnie Mouse

    We don't need to let these 2 terrorist stop whats going on in our country. Get this immigration done, so we can get our borders secure ect.. There are to many illegals, terrorists and guns coming into our country. Something's got to be done about all of the crimes, violence and guns in our country. If anything is stopped politically that's the longer your going to drag your feet and nothing is going to be getting done during that waiting period. There's nothing to be waiting on. Get in and do your job, to protect our country! We voted you all in and we are not safe at all in this country and nothing is being done! Let the people who are handling the terrorist, handle it and get back to business in Washington.

    April 22, 2013 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  4. Craig Mellor

    This so-called gany of 8 needs to wake up.....with some 11M illegals out there how many fit the profiles of the two young bombers in Boston and will this bill just give them a free rein to become American citizens. Senator Graham it will help weed out these types, how? Is he saying they will automatically come in from the shadows and register and if they do who in the Federal Government has the competence to figure out who they really are?

    April 22, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
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