Senator Rand Paul wants Congress to investigate the national-security implications of last week’s attacks in Boston before advancing immigration reform legislation. In a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid, the Kentucky senator argued that “important national-security questions must be addressed” as part of the ongoing immigration debate, and ultimately incorporated into a final legislative package.
“The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system,” Paul wrote on Monday. “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.”
Paul called on the Senate Homeland Security committee, on which he sits, to hold hearings into the national-security “failures” in light of the Boston attacks, and the implications with respect to U.S. immigration policy. The debate over immigration reform must include a “thorough examination” of the circumstances surrounding the attacks, and the alleged perpetrators, to determine if legislation is necessary to prevent similar attacks in the future. National-security considerations, he argued, “must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform.”
“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 in the letter. “Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigrations reform [bill] before us address this?” He further suggested that Congress “take a hard look” at U.S. policy regarding student visas, particularly with respect to immigrants from “high-risk areas” such as Chechnya.
Paul’s letter adds to a growing chorus of GOP lawmakers and conservatives seeking to prevent the hasty passage of the Gang of Eight’s immigration-reform bill.