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What Did the Tsarnaevs Teach Us about Immigration Security?


In an awkward moment reminiscent of the cancellation of last month’s hearing on global warming due to snow, Janet Napolitano had to postpone her Senate testimony in favor of the Schumer/Rubio bill Friday to brief the president on the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

But that hasn’t stopped the amnesty-pushers in Congress and the media from aggressively trying to squelch any concern over the immigration bill based on the Boston jihad bombing. At the beginning of Monday’s Senate hearing, Rubio’s guide and mentor on immigration, Chuck Schumer, made a preemptive strike against any attempt to link the two. Meanwhile, the Washington Post on Tuesday gravely warned against “stoking fear of immigrants.”

But the concern over yet another terrorist plot by young immigrant Muslim men isn’t just the latest bubbling of xenophobia from bitter-clinger yokels. There are specific aspects of this case that illustrate weaknesses in our immigration system and in the immigration bill itself. Among them:

Why was the bombers’ father issued a tourist visa to come here in the first place? DHS hasn’t released information on this, but anyone from a garden spot like Dagestan should have to clear a pretty high bar to prove to a U.S. consular officer that he was not going to overstay his visa. Though the Schumer/Rubio bill requires eventual exit-tracking for some foreign visitors, it doesn’t address the problem of issuing visas in the first place to people who shouldn’t be getting them.

Once here, why was Tsarnaev père granted asylum? He’d apparently left Kyrgyzstan for Russia (Dagestan is part of Russia) and then sought asylum from persecution in Russia. So why not go back to Kyrgyzstan? Asylum should be a last resort for people with literally nowhere else to go, not just an alternative way of procuring a green card. And if they so feared persecution that they warranted asylum, how come the parents have felt safe enough to move back to Dagestan? (Not to mention Tamerlan’s spending months at a time there.) The Schumer/Rubio bill weakens asylum rules significantly, eliminating the requirement that illegal aliens apply for asylum within one year of entry and limiting the review process for many applications.

How effective will the much-touted background checks (just running names through some databases) be for the 11 million or more amnesty applicants, given that an in-person interview by the FBI with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on a tip regarding radical-Islamic inclinations, didn’t result in any action?

What are the weaknesses in our patriotic assimilation system that allowed the bombers, one of whom spent most of his school years here, to become so alienated? The bill’s response to assimilation concerns is to establish a new bureaucracy to sluice tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from a new open-borders slush fund to groups like La Raza, that have actually promoted the very balkanization we need to recover from. And why does the bill never once use the words “assimilation” or “Americanization,” choosing “integration” instead? Americanization was the goal of immigration, according to liberal democratic congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Couldn’t the Schumer staffers who wrote this bill at least have pretended to care about national cohesion, if only to dupe a few more GOP senators?

Supporters of the 844-page immigration behemoth are clearly worried that the jihad attack in Boston might upset their carefully laid plans. Thus their indignation at anyone who raises the connection. (You should have seen my Twitter feed after I brought it up at Monday’s hearing.)

Their fear is well-founded. There’s plenty wrong with the Schumer/Rubio bill that’s unrelated to the Tsarnaev’s murderous rampage: It guarantees the growth of a new illegal population, its “temporary” worker provisions are a grievous mistake, and only a small minority of the public has ever favored its increases in future immigration.

But last week’s bombings were a bloody reminder that our immigration-security efforts leave much to be desired. And this bill either ignores many of those concerns, or makes them worse.


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