Congress should not listen to the hotheads and the anti-immigrant mischief makers who want to delay action on pending immigration reform because the two suspects in the Boston bombing case were immigrants.
The United States would no doubt be less safe, in fact, if reform — with its likely emphasis on increased border security and bringing millions of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows — falls to fear-mongering.
The immigration status quo is unacceptable. Congress and President Obama should waste no time in getting to work on a reform acceptable to all sides.
Reform will center to greater or lesser degree on improving security at high-traffic crossings at the border with Mexico, revamping the visa system and creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million to 12 million undocumented workers, largely Hispanic, now living permanently but uneasily in the United States.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, calling themselves the "Gang of Eight," has just unveiled a compromise reform plan. Mr. Obama has a proposal of his own. There will be other suggestions. It is hoped there are no unbridgeable gaps between them. It has been nearly 30 years since the last immigration reform, and the current system is broken. The momentum to fix it should not be slowed by the crime against humanity in Boston.
The surviving suspect in the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who was charged with a capital crime Monday, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in a shootout with police Thursday, were ethnic Chechens. Their family came to the United States some 10 years ago, legally, as refugees.
The younger brother is a naturalized U.S. citizen and the elder had a green card. The government knew who they were and where they lived. They assimilated to some extent, at least at first. They differed from other immigrants in that the vast majority of immigrants — both legal and undocumented — don't commit heinous crimes.
It's hard to see how a new immigration policy that works, one that makes immigrants visible, would make it more likely that similar monstrous crimes would be committed.
But here was anti-immigrant Republican Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana calling for a delay in considering immigration reform for a month or two until "emotions settle down." If that happens, opponents will look for another excuse to delay.
Congress, don't let the bombings kill reform.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times