The immigrant status of the two Boston bombings suspects will be a matter of debate as the House begins addressing immigration reform, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said Thursday.
The Virginia Republican told reporters his committee intends to examine how federal agencies aware of Tamerlan Tsarnaev failed to share information about his trip last year back to Chechnya when he was supposed to be on a watch list. He suggested at a news conference the information could be helpful as Congress considers major changes to the nation's immigration system.
“I think it would be very helpful in learning about that process,” he said. “We certainly view that as part of comprehensive immigration reform.”
In an interview with CNN Wednesday, Goodlatte criticized federal law enforcement agencies for mishandling information about Tsarnaev’s trip to Russia after the United States was alerted by Moscow about his possible radicalization.
“We are also hearing that the Department of Homeland Security had different information than the FBI. They were not apparently sharing that information so the FBI, according to what we now understand, did not know that he was in Russia for six months and did not follow up upon his return,” Goodlatte told CNN.
Goodlatte said several House committees “will definitely be following through to figure out what happened and what can be done to improve on communication between Homeland Security and the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies.”
His comments come as the House Judiciary panel prepares to consider addressing immigration reform this week. The committee is taking a piecemeal approach, starting with an employment verification system before turning its attention to provisions dealing with guest worker programs and immigrant visas.
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