The bombings in Boston continued to reverberate through the immigration reform debate today as the Senate Judiciary Committee held its second hearing on the Gang of Eight immigration overhaul. A number of Republicans say the violence should give the senators pause as they consider reform. The bill’s drafters, however, said today and over the weekend that Boston injects additional impetus to move the bill forward with haste.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., opened the hearing this morning by urging his colleagues not to let the violence of last week interrupt the fledgling deliberations.
“[O]pponents of comprehensive immigration reform began to exploit the Boston Marathon bombing,” Senator Leahy said. “Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hardworking people.”
During the first committee hearing on the bill last week, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said Congress should consider the immigration bill in light of the events in Boston.
“While we don’t yet know the immigration status of people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our [immigration] system,” Grassley said.
And Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., submitted a letter today to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to hold action until the Boston bombings have been fully investigated.
“We should not proceed until we understand the specific failure of our immigration system,” Paul wrote. “Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate…[from] an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed act of terrorism.”