Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote a letter Monday urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold up any action on proposed immigration reform until Congress better understands what’s actually broken with the immigration laws already in place — laws that failed to halt the immigration of the alleged Boston bombers from proceeding unchecked.
“Before Congress moves forward, some important national security questions must be addressed,” Paul said. “The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don’t use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.”
A coalition of Congressional leaders — you know them as the Democrats and RINOs of the “Gang of Eight” — are backing an immigration bill up for debate this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
That bill includes a number of new immigration enforcement provisions, including measures to tighten the U.S.-Mexico border, monitoring visa holders and adding more customs agents. And, in keeping with President Barack Obama’s immigration reform blueprint, the bill would set illegals on a 13-year track toward American citizenship.
Paul is arguing that these steps are borne more from concerns over illegal immigration originating from the southern U.S. border, but don’t do much to examine how the system as a whole fails to stop the entrance of Islamist terrorists who came here legally from across the Atlantic.
Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?
…In the wake of 9/11, there was a comprehensive reform of our intelligence gathering system, yet our improved intelligence gathering system did not adequately detect these extremists. We need to understand possible intelligence failures and craft solutions.
Paul is calling for hearings in the Senate Homeland Security and Government affairs committee to study ways that would-be immigrants hoping to enter the United States from “high-risk areas” can be vetted by a more thorough security screening process.
Other Republicans, like Senator John Conryn of Texas, have expressed similar security concerns with the Gang’s proposed reform.
Then there are real cops, who have to enforce whatever Congress passes. They think the proposed comprehensive reform bill stinks.
“Never before have I seen such contempt for law enforcement officers as what I’ve seen from the Gang of Eight,” Chris Crane, president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, said in testimony Monday. “Senators invite illegal aliens to testify before Congress… but American citizens working as law enforcement officers within our nation’s broken immigration system are purposely excluded from the process and prohibited from providing input.”
On the whole, Paul is voicing a conservative view shared by many who, in light of the Boston bombings, have reflected on just what the proposal before the Senate really accomplishes (amnesty) and what it can’t prevent (terrorism).
But with the proposal’s strong media play, as well as assiduous support from the Obama Administration, pointing out the other side of comprehensive immigration reform to average Americans, who are being sold the plan with every “click” of the TV dial, may prove too challenging for Paul and other conservative critics to overcome.