Rand Paul Calls for Immigration Bill to be Slowed After Boston

Paul's statement is a sign of how the Boston bombings may scramble the Senate's immigration bill

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Charles Dharapak / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 7, 2013

It was clear from the start that the Boston marathon bombing would pose the first major test of the Senate’s will to overhaul U.S. immigration laws. Almost immediately, conservative senators like Chuck Grassley and Dan Coats suggested the bill should be slowed. This was not a surprise. Many advocates believe they have a narrow window — roughly until the end of July — to shepherd the bill through the Senate. That gives opponents an incentive to dither. This being Congress, they’re quite good at finding reasons to slow down.

But if such tactics are expected from the bill’s critics, they are far more damaging when they come from ostensible supporters. On Monday Republican Senator Rand Paul called for the bill to be delayed until the failures that allowed a pair of immigrants to allegedly detonate two pressure-cooker bombs in downtown Boston have been studied, and the solutions incorporated into the legislation.

“We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system,” Paul wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Kentucky Republican called for hearings on homeland security and intelligence-gathering failures. Paul also urged the Senate to examine the flaws in the visa and refugee programs, and raised the possibility of suspending student visas from “high-risk” areas.

“I respectfully request that the Senate consider the following two conditions as part of the comprehensive immigration reform debate,” Paul writes. “One, the Senate needs a thorough examination of the facts in Massachusetts to see if legislation is necessary to prevent a similar situation in the future. Two, national security protections must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform to make sure the federal government does everything it can to prevent immigrants with malicious intent from using our immigration system to gain entry into the United States in order to commit future acts of terror.”

Paul is not a member of the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight, a group of four Republicans and four Democrats who last week filed an immigration bill intended to tighten border security, provide a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million unauthorized immigrants and retool the U.S. legal immigration channels. But Paul has been a vocal supporter of immigration reform, and in March delivered a speech laying out his own vision at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His support was considered a critical sign that part of the conservative base might be persuaded to back the controversial overhaul. If Paul becomes an obstacle to the bill instead, it’s yet another indication that its prospects are less rosy than its proponents let on.

For Paul, a likely presidential contender in 2016, hedging on immigration is a shrewd way to shore up his vulnerabilities on national-security issues. His libertarian leanings make some of the GOP base skittish, and while Paul tempers the non-interventionist foreign policy that hampered his father’s presidential prospects, his views on national security still clash with those of Republican stalwarts, as his spat with John McCain and Lindsey Graham over drone policy made clear. By stepping back from immigration to focus on national security, Paul endears himself to GOP hawks. At the same time, he saps some of the momentum of an immigration bill that would be seen as a signature achievement for potential 2016 rival Marco Rubio.

The full text of Paul’s letter is below:

Dear Majority Leader Reid,

As our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those affected by the tragedy in Boston, I urge you to incorporate the following national security concerns into the comprehensive immigration reform debate. Before Congress moves forward, some important national security questions must be addressed.

I believe that any real comprehensive immigration reform must implement strong national security protections. The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don’t use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?

There should be hearings in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that study the national security aspects of this situation, making sure that our current immigration system gives individuals from high-risk areas of the world heightened scrutiny.

In the wake of 9/11, there was a comprehensive reform of our intelligence gathering system, yet our improved intelligence gathering system did not adequately detect these extremists. We need to understand possible intelligence failures and craft solutions.

Media reports indicate that the deceased bombing suspect was interviewed by the FBI two years ago at the request of a foreign government. We need to know the details of this interview. We need to know if this interview might have given investigators any reason to conclude that this individual might be dangerous or at least worthy of further inquiry. If so, was there an intelligence failure? At the very least, it should be examined.

Media reports indicate that both the bombing suspects were legal permanent residents and one is reported to be a naturalized citizen.  We need to make sure that we have safeguards against this type of situation happening again.

In 2002, Congress set up the National Security Registration System (NSEERS), yet it was suspended in 2011 by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.  That system had problems, yet was still based on the practical idea that extra screening is necessary from nations that have a higher population of extremists. Congress might need a similar system updated for current circumstances to be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform.

I would like the US-VISIT/OBIM program studied to see if it actually works, or at least study the process by which we collect and analyze biometric data on immigrants.

Our refugee programs have proven to be a problem. On, January 29, 2013, two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green, in my home state of Kentucky, were sentenced to long prison terms for participating in terrorism and providing material support to terrorists while living in the United States. How did this happen? Does the current immigration reform address how this might have happened? We may need more scrutiny when accepting refugees from high-risk nations.

I want to make sure that any new bill addresses the visa entry and exit programs, in addition to refugee programs that have proven problematic in Bowling Green and possibly, if media reports are correct, in Boston.

Finally, do we need to take a hard look at student visas? Should we suspend student visas, or at least those from high-risk areas, pending an investigation into the national security implications of this program?

I respectfully request that the Senate consider the following two conditions as part of the comprehensive immigration reform debate:One, the Senate needs a thorough examination of the facts in Massachusetts to see if legislation is necessary to prevent a similar situation in the future. Two, national security protections must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform to make sure the federal government does everything it can to prevent immigrants with malicious intent from using our immigration system to gain entry into the United States in order to commit future acts of terror.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Rand Paul, M.D.

91 comments
DaveFrancis
DaveFrancis

HAVE PITY FOR ARIZONA AND OTHER BORDER STATES ARE PAYING A LARGER PROPORTION OF TAXES, IN SUPPORTING LEECHES CALLED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS?

CAN WE TRUST CONGRESS AFTER THE 1986 IMMIGRATION AMNESTY CHAOS?

Unlike other countries that pursue immigration, they are not fetching into that nation people who are going to leech of the rest of the taxpayers. Obviously everybody sees a calling for the highly skilled, the PhDs, scientists, engineers and many other highly educated workers and specific regulations to expedited visas.But people with no education, unskilled and who are able to sponsor old folks will add to our own seemingly endless lines of American citizens in poverty. If its so deemed we must bring across the border Guest workers for farms, agriculture, meat packing, it must be regulated properly, not the haphazard system we have today. That the owners of farms, cattle and other business must pay a living wage, and not unload the injured charges in emergency rooms and expect the hospitals and eventually the taxpayers to pay all the bills.

Without a biometric ID card the whole revision of Immigration laws is still going to fall on the taxpayers.OUR IDENTIFICATION IS BROKEN, AS THE WORN OUT SOCIAL SECURITY CARD THAT IS EASILY COMPROMISED? Even the spotlight on the E-Verify system has its real flaws, that mandatory execution of this electronic program, doesn't take complete effect for 6 years. Thats ridiculous and must be in force by the first year of any new Immigration reform. Any Comprehensive Immigration Reform should only be put in motion, only when the Southern border is fully enforced. Not just more agents, but with double layered fencing complete with razor wire, designated as the original (2006 SECURE FENCE ACT) covering all federal lands, Indian reservations and private lands. There was a Theodore Roosevelt easement law passed in 1907 that gave federal authority to a 60-foot strip along the international boundary with Mexico for the United States to maintain the area free from obstructions as a protection against the smuggling of goods between the United States and Mexico. In effect, the easement provided the federal government with a 60-foot border right-of-way on which it could build the fence. So why is Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano forever making excuses about building the REAL 2 Layer fences?

I still believe that any new immigration bill should contain an amendment to BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP, that only the babies of already U.S. citizens should be able to claim that right. Just by skirting the U.S. border Patrol, or Immigration and Customs Services (ICE) at airline arrival or shipping entry ports, smuggling the unborn into the country should not be tolerated and certainly not allow the unknown numbers of progeny a right to citizenship. There was a reason for this, according to the law that after the Civil War the descendants of slaves could gain citizenship.

There should be no rushing in revisiting immigration policies, as the 1986 opened up huge loopholes and allowed millions of none qualifying illegal aliens to gain legal status. We are feeling these consequences some 27 years later, through an epidemic of FAMILY CHAIN MIGRATION, leading to the DREAM ACT and the problem of the potential of 11 to 25 million illegal aliens having settled here, paying no taxes, but still collecting hundreds of billions of dollars in free education for their children, health care in emergency rooms and a almost bottomless pit of incredible financial assistance including cash payments for every infant and food stamps. The critics are right that the parents are not entitled to federal or state benefits, but the de facto citizenship of illegal alien children are, and states are bleeding huge amounts of money, especially in the border state?

Whatever it costs to seal our borders, give ICE and HOMELAND SECURITY the tools they need to fight the growing plague. By paying now no matter the cost will save hundreds of billions annually into the future. The only reason its so expensive to these senile idiots in Washington, is that it doesn't conform to the demands of the special interests and all the corporations, otherwise discount labor would have already been severed?You will find a petition at NumbersUSA to stop this sham of the illegal alien invasion. Read more about the undeveloped border fence at AmericanPatrol and the astonishing sensor called the“Sonic Barrier” that is far advanced to the regular units they have on the border. AmericanPatrol can also illustrate to you the incompetence and intentional ignorance of the risks at the border, plus daily news and views that the Liberal press is keeping masked? Here is a few websites for petitions against illegal immigration, news and reports not seen within the pages of the left wing press. NumbersUSA carries much intelligence on specific laws, with American Patrol showing ample evidence of an extremely weak border and ineffectual control at ports of entry, including airline terminals. CALL YOUR TWO U.S. SENATORS TODAY and urge them to oppose S.744! You can call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-888-978-3094.

There is daily news also to be found here, at American Patrol and all the happenings in Washington.Corruption and abuse of all our laws, pending immigration bills and abuses in congress is available at Judicial Watch.

April 23, the daily American Patrol publicizes the outreach media articles, which usually remain concealed, but located here all in one place.

1. Blind Eye: Conciliatory FBI policies toward Islamic hampered probe into Boston bombers.

2. Spokesman for RINO Rubio compares plight of illegals to slavery.

3. Kris Kobach testifies against amnesty scheme before U.S. Senate committee.

4. Immigration Officer: Congress heeded illegal aliens, not law enforcement.

5. Don't thwart the rule of law.

 

np
np

considering the fact that terrorist attacks and plans are primarily from muslims (other than home grown) probably immigration needs to be looked at it from that perspective . People may think this is racist but considering the fact that muslims are the ones who are most probable to commit terrorist attacks , this should be a logical conclusion

anti-government
anti-government

There's no problem with the immigration sysem. Mistakes happen. People lie on their citizenship applications. There's nothing we can do about it unless we want to continue our journey down the path to fascism with no civil liberties at all,

Do we want to remain a land of liberty? Or do we want the government to try (and of course fail) to keep all of us safe all the time?

Liberty is more important than security!

Pollopa
Pollopa

The title should have read, "Rand Finds Another Opportunity"

carolerae
carolerae

They've already killed the gun bill, next up; they will kill Immigration Reform; & then Obama's Budget.  The Gop is Nullifying the 2012 Election b/c they don;t like the results. Same as Last Term!  Obstruct, obstruct, obstruct & then scream #ObamasFault & the Press dutifully writes that story for them.  It's all Obama's Fault b/c he could have __________________.  (Fill in with any stupid idea BUT Gop obstruction!)

outsider
outsider

And here's Paul Ryan saying immigration reform has to be done:


CHICAGO — Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said the terrorist bombing in Boston should push Congress to pass immigration reform.

Speaking at a church here alongside Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Ryan initially said he’ll “stay off of Boston” as a subject. But the GOP lawmaker relented when pressed about its impact on the debate over immigration.

 anything, what we see in Boston is that we have to fix and modernize our immigration system for lots of reasons,” Ryan told a throng of reporters. “National security reasons, economic security reasons. For all those reasons we need to fix our broken immigration system.”


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/paul-ryan-boston-immigration-reform-90435.html#ixzz2RE80AusW


Hmmm.. primaries starting early??

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

In a separate statement, Ron and Rand urge African Americans to voluntarily return to the cotton fields.  Could this idiot be any more ass-backwards in his thinking?

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

as ovomit is an undocumented ,illegal alien he is sure to try to ram the immigration reform bill down our throats. If he can get it thru then that means he will become a US citizen...Rid the US of ALL ILLEGALS and if they want in the US let them do it legally..

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Media reports indicate that the deceased bombing suspect was interviewed by the FBI two years ago at the request of a foreign government. We need to know the details of this interview. We need to know if this interview might have given investigators any reason to conclude that this individual might be dangerous or at least worthy of further inquiry. If so, was there an intelligence failure? At the very least, it should be examined.

Sure Rand, right after we get the "truth" out of the Benghazi attack, right?  We know you're an expert on federal and military intelligence so we'll be sure to keep you in the loop.

paulejb
paulejb

Please, Ted Cruz, Help Save Us from This Monstrosity of an Immigration Bill

"Politico has a piece on the contrasting positions of Cruz and Rubio on immigration. It notes that Cruz has held back so far in his opposition. I’m hoping Cruz makes killing this bill a top priority. Opponents could use his ability to dig in on the substance, his willingness to buck the establishment, and his tone (pro-immigrant yet pro-rule-of-law)."

anti-government
anti-government

You, sir or madam, are a BIGOT. 20th Century Christians have killed far more people (including civilians) than all the Muslims in history. Christians have blown up more buildings than 20th Century Muslims too. Hitler was a Christian (of a sort. He was a baptised non-practicing Catholic). The men who decided to bomb civilians in Japan and Germany (killing millions) were all good Christians. Our tax dollars were used to roast babies as they slept in their cribs. We're not a great example of peacefully solving problems, and we as a society are wrong to point the finger of blame at any group. We as a species, and we as a country, are violent and cruel. Muslims are not any more predisposed to violence, or a danger to our society, than any other group.

paulejb
paulejb

@Pollopa 

Barack Obama's initiatives are a target rich environment. Never before has so much neo-Marxist bilge been proposed by any one person.

paulejb
paulejb

@carolerae 

Barack Obama's budget will not get one DEMOCRAT vote just as it did last year and the year before that. Democrats in Congress react to Obama's budgets as vampires react to garlic.

marchon
marchon

The separate statement on returning people to cotton fields can be found where exactly? Thanks.

jsfox
jsfox

@paulejb I don't know, but it would be fair to say anybody who looks to Breitbart as a source is so trapped inside their epistemic enclosure as to be beyond saving.

Pollopa
Pollopa

Disquising yourself as Santa again Krampus? You had your opportunity last December. How many kids does that bag of yours hold anyway, a few of million?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SteveHarper I'd rather we rid the US of illiterate bigots like you. Most immigrants work hard for a living, you I have my doubts about.

paulejb
paulejb

@DonQuixotic 

2009 domestic violence arrest. 2011 triple murder. What does it take to arouse the FBI's interest?

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

I'm sorry, I was adding an editorial comment.  Next time, perhaps I should add air-quotes (unless I can find a way to format the text to look like crayon). 

paulejb
paulejb

@marchon 

It is posted on trees in liberal fever swamps all across this land.

paulejb
paulejb

@jsfox @paulejb 

What eluded you about "CNN"s Erin Burnett?" The fact that she is employed by CNN is all you really need to know about Erin Burnett.

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

@Pollopa hope it has enuff room for all the illegals to sak em up and throw em back in thr river

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

@mantisdragon91 @SteveHarper spoken like a true freebie grabbin,ball lickin ovomit supporter- Let the immigrants as you call them be called what they are ILLEGALS--they can work hard and improve their own dam countries not come to AMERICA and bleed our system dry all the while trashing it up

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @SteveHarper 

Why can't they work hard where they were born? Why do they have to arrive on our teeming shores before starting to work hard?

Heian
Heian

Maybe they need to post some stupid things on TIME articles? You could give these guys pointers.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

Like Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz causes liberals to have night terrors. Nothing strikes fear in liberal hearts more than conservative women and Hispanics. It simply destroys their narrative that all their opponents are angry white men.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Boy, fine folks like yourself make me proud to be an American

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

@Heian spoken like true ovomit supporter - I'm betting the illegal alien covers you too

Heian
Heian

Obviously education is the last thing on his mind. He only reads the news to complain about it. Willful ignorance is his answer to a response he doesn't like. Social and intellectual garbage does not seek to better itself by learning.

Heian
Heian

You know the biggest problem with the country is people like you? Ignorant, intolerant, xenophobic, and condescending. You are the problem. You being American is embarrassing for us as a country. You are the farthest thing from a patriot, the farthest thing from a "real American"; you are a bigot, an embarrassing, shameful bigot.

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

@MrObvious  thanks for such thought provocing posts all sent from your basement penthouse at yo mommas house

MrObvious
MrObvious

@SteveHarper @TyPollard 

You have no time educating yourself about xenophobia? It's like a google away. Shorter time then it takes for you to mangle another rant about libruls. Ovomit? How pedestrian.

SteveHarper
SteveHarper

@mantisdragon91 @SteveHarper yep fighting to same MY AMERICA,not provide a place for illegal trash to lounge ,,,You can call it what you want as I suspect the illegal trash title probably covers you

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@SteveHarper @mantisdragon91 Wow so much hate and stupidity rolled into a single post. No wonder your party is quickly going extinct. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of hateful bigots.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

Unlike a community organizer who never had gainful employment in his life and spent his time palling around with terrorist bombers, racist clerics and felons.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

But it would have been entertaining watching you goobers trying to paint Sarah Palin as a rich, out of touch brahmin.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

Sarah would not have been quite as easy on Obama as Mitt Romney was. She would have filleted Barry for his neo-Marxist policies.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 Night Terrors? We were praying for Sarah to run. That way you could see what America really thinks of your policies when you lose by 30 or more points in a general election.