Tensions rose at today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Gang of Eight’s proposed immigration bill, as committee chairman Patrick Leahy accused opponents of the bill of trying to “exploit” the Boston marathon bombing for political gain. “Last week, opponents began to exploit the Boston Marathon bombing,” Leahy said. ”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.”
But sparks flew when New York senator Chuck Schumer accused Republicans of doing just that. Schumer argued against delaying immigration reform due to last week’s terrorist attack and criticized Republicans for using it as “an excuse for not doing the bill or delaying it, many months or years.”
That insinuation was too much for Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, an opponent of the current bill, who angrily interrupted Schumer, asserting, ”I never said that! I didn’t say anything about delaying the bill!”
“I didn’t say you did, sir,” Schumer replied.
Grassley last week urged caution in proceeding on immigration reform, arguing that lawmakers should take more time to understand the flaws of the current system and to read the bill itself.
“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” he said. “While we don’t yet know the immigration status of the people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.”