WASHINGTON -- A top Republican senator, citing the Boston bombings, warned Friday against rushing ahead with a reform of the country's immigration laws, as concerns about terrorism appeared to revive conservative opposition to the proposal.
“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“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. How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil? How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill before us?”
The comments by Grassley, senior Republican on the Judiciary panel, were the first overt sign of a potential new hurdle for the immigration plan, which has a narrow window for political consideration. He voiced an attitude that had been percolating among some conservative lawmakers that the bombing at the Boston Marathon provides a reason to limit newcomers to the country.