The Boston Bombings Have Nothing to Do With Immigration Reform

A day after the Boston Marathon bombings, the New York Post falsely reported that law enforcement suspected a Saudi national may have been responsible. Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa responded with predictable outrage. “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 million to 20 million people that are here from who knows where?” he told the National Review. King, a leading opponent of efforts to reform the nation’s immigration laws, was one of several conservatives—including Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and talk show host Laura Ingraham—who are straining to draw a line from the Boston attack to the immigration bill.

Now the question is whether the Gang of Eight senators who authored the bill, and particularly the Republicans in the group, can wrest back the narrative from these doubters. On CNN’s State of the Union show Sunday, South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham argued that the bombings strengthen the case for reform. It’s better to improve the immigration system than to keep it as is, he said, so authorities have a better idea of who is coming and who isn’t. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Arizona Senator John McCain made similar statements this weekend.

Abdulmutallab: enemy combatant or criminal?

Abdulmutallab was charged as a civilian criminal rather than an enemy combatant, which would have subjected him to a military tribune, not a civilian trial.

GOP lawmakers are eager to know who decided to make Abdulmutallab into a criminal rather than an enemy combatant. In a memo to the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) writes, “We are writing to ask who within the Department of Justice made the decision on Christmas Day to treat Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect, entitled to Miranda warnings and the right to counsel, rather than as an unprivileged enemy belligerent subject to military detention and a full opportunity to gain intelligence.”