News / USA

US Senator: Boston Bombing Must Not Derail Immigration Reform

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (r) and, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, April 22, 2013.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (r) and, Republican Senator Charles Grassley, April 22, 2013.
Michael Bowman
An influential U.S. senator says the Boston bombing must not be used as an excuse to block or delay overhauling America’s immigration system. The emergence of a bipartisan immigration reform proposal has been overshadowed by the nation’s preoccupation with events in Boston.
 
Both Boston bombing suspects came to the United States legally from faraway lands, but some Republican lawmakers have cited their alleged actions as an example of what can happen if Congress carries immigration reform too far.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy says the Boston bombings should not be exploited for political purposes.

“Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of these two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hard-working people," said Leahy.

Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which met Monday to examine a bipartisan proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation. The bill also mandates tougher border security and seeks to crack down on employers who hire non-legal workers.

Leahy argued that, if anything, immigration reform is a way to improve U.S. public safety.

“The bill before us would serve to strengthen our national security by allowing us to focus our border security and enforcement efforts against those who do us harm," he said. "A nation as strong as ours can welcome the oppressed and persecuted without making compromises to our security.”

The committee's top Republican, Charles Grassley, objected to Leahy’s suggestion that the immigration plan's opponents are exploiting the Boston bombings. Grassley noted that many Democrats have linked tragedy to politics by citing recent mass shootings in the United States as a reason to support tougher gun restrictions. Grassley said what is needed is careful and reasoned debate on immigration policy.

“I think we are taking advantage of an opportunity, when once in 25 years we deal with immigration, to make sure that every base is covered," said Grassley.

The Republican senator noted that immigration reform undertaken in the 1980s failed to stem the flow of illegal border-crossers. He said lawmakers have a duty to prevent a repeat, necessitating careful consideration and full debate of the proposed reform bill.

“There are 92 other senators that must get their chance to improve this bill in a deliberative process," he said.

Polls show a majority of Americans favor an immigration system overhaul, including a path to citizenship for those living illegally in the country.  Whether the bipartisan bill will win enough votes to pass both houses of a politically divided Congress remains to be seen.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More