Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Congress not to stop or delay immigration reform over the Boston bombings, saying that “Immigration reform will strengthen our nation’s security by helping us identify exactly who has entered our country and who has left.”
“In the wake of this week’s terrorist attack in Boston, some have already suggested that the circumstances of this terrible tragedy are justification for delaying or stopping entirely the effort for comprehensive immigration reform,” the two senators wrote in a statement. “In fact the opposite is true: Immigration reform will strengthen our nation’s security by helping us identify exactly who has entered our country and who has left – a basic function of government that our broken immigration system is incapable of accomplishing today.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley was the first to link immigration reform to the Boston bombings, saying earlier today during a Senate hearing on the legislation: “We also appreciate the opportunity to talk about immigration. Particularly in light of all that’s happening in Massachusetts right now and over the last week.”
“We are here trying to understand why these events have occurred,” he continued. “It’s hard to understand that there are people in this world that want to do Americans harm, so this hearing is an opportunity to refocus on the issues at hand and the importance of remaining vigilant and secure in our homeland.”
Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Florida Republicans at the head of Senate and House immigration reform efforts, respectively, said Friday that it was too soon to make the connection. ”The situation in Boston is still developing, and it’s too soon to jump to conclusions, let alone use the tragedy to make political points,” said a spokesman for Rubio.
Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at email@example.com.More Jillian Rayfield.