On Monday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said the Senate should not proceed with the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration bill until lawmakers more fully understand the failures of the country’s current immigration system and how it may have let in two immigrants who are suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon.
“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 (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Paul also said the Senate needs to thoroughly examine whether there was an intelligence failure, especially in light of the intelligence reforms after 9/11, that led to the attacks. He also stressed that the Senate must look carefully at the country’s refugee programs that have been a “problem” and give heightened scrutiny to immigrants coming from high-risk areas. He noted that two Iraqis who had been living in Bowling Green, Kentucky are serving extensive prison sentences for participating in terrorism activities.
Paul requested that Senators examine the “facts in Massachusetts to see if legislation is necessary to prevent a similar situation in the future” and ensure national security protections are “rolled into comprehensive immigration reform” before proceeding in order 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.”
“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?” Paul asked. “Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?”
Paul said these concerns needed to be addressed before Congress moves forward.