It has been reported that the older Boston bomber traveled to Russia and his name was misspelled on his airline ticket [...] If this bill were to pass as is, we'll continue to rely on airline personnel to properly type a name into a computer and not on biometric identifiers.Apparently, Sen. Grassley has no idea that immigration reform has nothing to do with how we track the names of people flying in and out of the country. It's not like natural born citizens have "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" written on their airplane tickets and passports. If there's a problem with that system, it should be addressed, but there's no inherent reason that immigration reform should wait for that fix (or vice versa).
But despite the inanity of that argument, Grassley wasn't finished. Check this out:
Moreover, if the background checks on the 12 million people who are here illegally are anything like they were in the Boston bomber [case], we're in serious trouble.If there's a way to improve background checks, it makes sense to do it, but Grassley apparently doesn't realize that (a) the terrorists he's worried about (from the 9/11 bombers to the Tsarnaevs) have all come through the legal immigration system, not the "12 million people who are here illegally" and (b) if you want to give people background checks, you have to establish a framework for giving them legal status. If you don't create a viable legal immigration system, you won't have any background checks at all for millions of people, so by his own standards doing nothing would be worse than doing something.
Grassley's position may be stupid, but some Republicans are hoping that it will derail immigration reform. As you'll see below the fold, even Marco Rubio expressed sympathy for it—but nonetheless reiterated his view that when it comes to immigration, "we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed."
Here's what Rubio said on Monday:
One of the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, broke with other authors and said the Boston attack may be a reason to slow consideration of the proposal.Rubio added:
“If there are flaws in our immigration system that were exposed by the attack in Boston, any immigration reform passed by Congress this year should address those flaws,” Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, said in a statement. “Congress needs time to conduct more hearings and investigate how our immigration and national security systems could be improved going forward.”
The attack reinforces why immigration reform should be a lengthy, open and transparent process, so that we can ask and answer important questions surrounding every facet of the bill. But we still have a broken system that needs to be fixed.Time will tell if this is kabuki from Rubio or if he's actually getting cold feet. I suspect the former, but suspicions tend to cause more trouble than they're worth and the one thing that's absolutely clear is there's no reason the attack in Boston should delay or derail immigration reform, no matter what Chuck Grassley says or tweets.