Sen. Marco Rubio says the Boston bombings could make it harder to pass the bipartisan immigration-reform bill that he co-authored in the Senate, noting that it could expose "flaws” in the system that have to be fixed.
But in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto,"
the Florida Republican said the Boston Marathon tragedy attack could highlight a need for immigration reforms that help avoid future attacks.
“If Boston exposes flaws in our system, immigration or otherwise, we should address that and we should address that in this bill, if possible, of course,” Rubio said. “And if there’s something that went wrong in that process — in the [political]-asylum process, the refugee process — let’s fix it. We’re always in the process of learning and applying lessons here.”
The Boston attackers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, came to the United States as children and were given refugee status as ethnic Chechens, The Hill reports.
When asked how America can avoid attacks like the one in Boston, Rubio said that “we are learning about homegrown elements — people who have been raised here, people who have been radicalized here.”
Having a tough background-check system built into any new immigration law also would help identify potential sources of trouble, he said.
“I think having 11 million people here — not knowing who they are and where they are — that’s not good for us, either,” Rubio told Fox News.
One of the lessons of 9/11 is that the United States needs to monitor student visas more rigidly.
“Some of the 9/11 attackers were on student visas. By the way, they had overstayed those student visas,” Rubio said. “I don’t like profiling anybody. I don’t like singling out anybody. On the other hand, student visas are not a right.
“If we have the type of entry/exit kind of tracking system I’m calling for, we would have known who was here overstaying. Right now, we don’t know who the overstays are because we only know when people come in, we don’t know if they’ve left or not.”
Rubio said he’s not bothered if conversations in the aftermath of Boston slow down consideration of the immigration bill.
“I never said this has to be done quickly . . . Let’s do it right, so we don’t have to do it again,” he said.
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