As soon as it became clear that the two suspects in the Boston bombing were legal immigrants from Dagestan, a mostly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus, opponents of comprehensive immigration reform went on the attack.
Purposely outrageous Republican columnist Ann Coulter tweeted, “It’s too bad Suspect # 1 won’t be able to be legalized by Marco Rubio, now.”
Christian conservative radio host Bryan Fischer didn’t bother with nuance: “I think we can safely say that Rubio’s amnesty plan is DOA. And should be. Time to tighten, not loosen, immigration policy.”
And Republican senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), whose vote will help make or break any bill, made it clear that he feels the identity of the suspects should pause the momentum for reform.
“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” Grassley 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.”
“How can individuals evade authorities and plan such attacks on our soil?” he continued. “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?”
Critics of the bill have been trying to figure out a way to slow or stop reform for months. And the suspects in Boston may have finally given them the opportunity they’ve been hoping for.
The Republican establishment is so sure that immigration reform is necessary for the future of the GOP that they recommended it specifically as part of its “Growth and Opportunity Project” autopsy rebranding. Rubio took the lead and negotiated a compromise with a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that fit the president’s guidelines for reform while emphasizing the border security important to the Republican base.