Here we go again.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, on Tuesday drew a tenuous connection between Monday’s attack at the Boston Marathon and lawmakers’ lengthy push to reform the nation’s immigration system. King argued that given the unsubstantiated rumors suggesting a foreign national could have been behind the bombings, lawmakers should proceed with caution on immigration legislation.
“Some of the speculation that has come out is that yes, it was a foreign national and, speculating here, that it was potentially a person on a student visa,” said King in an interview Tuesday with the National Review Online. “If that’s the case, then we need to take a look at the big picture.”
Authorities did search the home of a 20-year-old man, currently in the U.S. on a valid student visa, in connection with the Boston bombings on Monday, officials said. Police and federal agents carried away some materials for more examination, but the quantity of what they were seen carting away indicated that they didn't find much, if anything, according to NBC’s Pete Williams. And while authorities investigating the bombings have identified "a number of people" who they would like to interview, no arrests have been made, no suspects have been named, and no further details have emerged implicating the young student in question.
Before authorities had even identified any solid leads, King stressed vigilance and argued that immigration legislation should focus more on national security, less on a path to legalization. “We need to go far deeper into our border crossings,” he said. “We need to take a look at the visa-waiver program and wonder what we’re doing. If we can’t background-check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check the 11 to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?”
Not to be outdone, on Wednesday another Republican lawmaker, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, drew a similar conclusion, claiming that this week’s bombings should make immigration reform advocates reevaluate where the system needs repair.
“We have seen this in Israel,” said Gohmert on CSPAN Wednesday in reference to the Boston attacks. “Finally the Israeli people said this is enough. They built a fence...They finally stopped the domestic violence from people that wanted to destroy them. I am concerned we need to do that as well.”
The Tea Party favorite went even further than King in his anti-immigration reform rhetoric, claiming that Al Qaeda operatives pretending to be Hispanic could potentially infiltrate the U.S. through an insecure border with Mexico. “We know Al Qaeda has camps on the Mexican border,” he said. “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists...When you have the greatest liberties, you will draw people that want to destroy you.”
On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, known as the Gang of Eight, formally filed their 844-page immigration bill on the Senate floor. If passed, the bill would enact the most significant changes to immigration laws in nearly three decades.