Senators Debate Tying the Marathon Bombing Suspects With Immigration Reform

So in case you've missed it, there's a manhunt going on for one of the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers after a firefight between the suspects and police left one of the alleged bombers dead.

The remaining suspect is 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. His brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed last night in a shootout with police, following a series of events that supposedly included a disturbance at a convenience store, the death of an MIT university police officer and the carjacking (and hostage taking) of a man in Cambridge, Mass.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are Chechen immigrants, and have lived in the United States since either 2002 or 2003, according to NBC News.

The revelation that these two are immigrants who have been in this country for at least nine years must figure into the immigration debate, apparently, according to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley:

“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” Grassley, the committee’s senior Republican, said in his opening statement. “How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the United States? How do we ensure that people who wish to do us harm are not eligible for benefits under the immigration laws, including this new bill?”

It's a fair argument, I'll admit — I mean, people could harm us. Why should we not protect ourselves by looking deeper into their background to ensure that there's nothing they might do to hurt people within this country?

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the writer of the bill, contended with Grassley's argument, saying that the events in Boston shouldn't be tied to this immigration bill.

“In general, we’re a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here,” and has photos and background checks, Schumer added — steps that would be taken in regard to the 11 million people here illegally under the legislation Schumer sponsored with seven other senators.

Schumer also said the U.S. refugee and asylum programs have been “significantly strengthened” in the past five years so that authorities are more careful about screening people coming into the country, but he said if that more changes are needed, he’s committed to making them.