The Senate’s first hearing on a new bipartisan immigration bill featured a debate among members over the relevance of the Boston bombing suspects foreign roots to the discussion.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised the topic early in the hearing, which was supposed to feature Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano before she was forced to cancel her appearance due to the ongoing response to the attack.
“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” Grassley said, according to the Huffington Post. “While we don’t yet know the immigration status of the people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), one of the sponsors of the immigration bill, said that he will work with DHS on any immigration issues that emerge from the bombing. But he warned that his colleagues should not rush to tie it to reform legislation given the lack of available information.
“I’d like to ask that all of us not jump to conclusions regarding events in Boston or conflate those events with this legislation,” Schumer said. “In general, we’re a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here, has their fingerprints, photos, etcetera, conducted background checks … Two days ago, as you may recall, there was widespread erroneous reports of arrests being made. This just emphasizes how important it is to allow the actual facts to come out before jumping to any conclusions.”