In a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that passing the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill will improve the national security of the United States.
According to Reid, “[t]he bipartisan immigration reform proposal introduced last week would enable us to identify and perform criminal background and national security checks on immigrants who are here unlawfully.” Reid also claimed that “this proposal would further enhance security at our nation’s borders and ensure that we track those who visit this country on temporary visas to make sure they leave when they are supposed to.”
Paul wrote to Reid Monday expressing his concern about major flaws in the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. “The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system,” Paul said in his letter to Reid. “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.”
Further, Paul asked Reid to avoid rushing the immigration bill through the Senate. “We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system,” he wrote.
In his response, Reid assured Paul that the Senate would act circumspectly while considering the lengthy immigration bill. “There will be ample opportunity to amend this bill, both in committee and on the floor, as it moves through regular order,” Reid told Paul in his Tuesday letter.
Despite Reid’s letter, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) have joined Paul in his concern that rushing the immigration debate in light of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing is a bad idea. In addition, former Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), now the President of the influential Heritage Foundation, has criticized the bill as simply a plan for amnesty.
Grassroots conservatives appear to be united in their opposition to the immigration bill as well. David Crow of the Arkansas Conservative Caucus, which identifies itself as a Tea Party group, expressed that sentiment on Tuesday. The bill, he said, would “simply create a magnet for more and more people to come across the border. In my opinion it is a huge mistake to go down this path when it’s evident it will attract more and more illegal aliens.”