Rubio: If Boston exposed flaws, fix in immigration bill
Sen. Marco Rubio, who has urged caution in drawing connections with the Boston bombings to the immigration debate, now says he disagrees it has "no bearing."
In a statement today, as the second Judiciary committee on the 844-page bill is under way, Rubio said: “I disagree with those who say that the terrorist attack in Boston has no bearing on the immigration debate. Any immigration reform we pursue should make our country safer and more secure. If there are flaws in our immigration system that were exposed by the attack in Boston, any immigration reform passed by Congress this year should address those flaws. Congress needs time to conduct more hearings and investigate how our immigration and national security systems could be improved going forward.
“The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed.”
A small but growing number of Republican lawmakers are linking Boston to immigration. Sen. Rand Paul wrote a letter today to Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell said the issues the case present must be investigated before moving forward. At the Judiciary hearing, Sen. Chuck Schumer blasted those trying to use Boston to stop the bill, drawing an angry response from Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. "I never said that!," Grassley said.
Rubio appeared to be commenting off an opening statement by Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who said: "Late last week opponents of comprehensive immigration reform began to exploit the Boston Marathon bombing. I urge restraint in that regard. Refugees and asylum seekers have enriched the fabric of this country from our founding. In Vermont, we have welcomed as neighbors Bhutanese, Burmese, and Somalis, just as other states have welcomed immigrants looking to America for refuge and opportunity. Whether it is the Hmong in Minnesota, Vietnamese-Americans in California, Virginia and Texas, Cuban-Americans in Florida and New Jersey, or Iraqis in Utah, our history is full of these stories of salvation, and renewal.
"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. The bill before us would serve to strengthen our national security by allowing us to focus our border security and enforcement efforts against those who would do us harm. But a Nation as strong as ours can welcome the oppressed and persecuted without making compromises on our security. We are capable of vigilance in our pursuit of these values.