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The revelation today that the two Islamic suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday immigrated to the United States is making waves already in Congress, where eight senators have proposed an immigration reform plan that critics call de facto amnesty.
At the first hearing on the “Gang of Eight” Senate plan today, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said he wants to know the suspects’ immigration status.
“Given the events of this week, it’s important for us to understand the gaps and loopholes in our immigration system,” the Iowa Republican said, according to the Washington Times. “While we don’t yet know the immigration status of people who have terrorized the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.”
The Senate proposal, sponsored by four Republicans and four Democrats, is advertised to legalize illegal aliens.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., however, the Times reported, said senators should not allow anyone to conflate the issue of amnesty for illegals and the status of two suspected terrorists.
“In general, we are a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here,” he said.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did not testify as expected.
See “Jihad in America: The Grand Deception,” which reveals the threat that is hidden in plain sight for Americans.
In Boston, police identified Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, as bombing suspects. Tamerlan was killed in an overnight shootout and Dzhokhar was on the run following Monday’s attack that killed three and injured more than 170.
In other hearing testimony, Peter Kirsanow, a partner with the Cleveland law firm of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan and Aronoff LLP was invited to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the effects of illegal immigration on blacks.
Kirsanow said illegal immigration and amnesty has a “disproportionate effect on African-Americans,” because of the high proportion of lower incomes
The current black unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 13 percent, though according to the Huffington Post, black youth unemployment in February rose to 43.1 percent.
Kirsanow said granting lawful status to illegal aliens would “force out higher skilled labor” and therefore “swell the rate of black unemployment.”
When questioned by Grassley, Kirsanow advocated strongly against amnesty and illegal immigration on behalf of both blacks and non-blacks. He said if amnesty is granted “the tiny advantage Americans have … evaporates.”
Kirsanow was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by then-President George W. Bush in 2001 and was subsequently reappointed for a six-year term. He currently practices labor law in Cleveland, Ohio.
Schumer attacked Kirsanow’s philosophical positions for “wanting to deport all illegals.”
He said the deportation of an estimated 11 million or 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. now won’t happen, so wouldn’t it be better to have “a system where they can legally work?”
Kirsanow responded to Schumer that he does not believe in deporting all illegal aliens, but explained, “We’re living in a fantasy land if we think that if we have something on paper that people will follow it.”
He said people will still find ways to hire workers under the table to take advantage of them.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., lamented the future decline of American wages and attacked the integrity of the Senate bill, saying it was written by “big business interests and big agricultural interests and not for the public interests.”
Douglas Holtz-Eakin of American Action Forum testified on the economic and national security benefits of amnesty, but both Grassley and Kirsanow agreed if amnesty is granted, there will not be enough jobs for both blacks and illegal immigrants.
The Senate’s “Gang of Eight” formally introduced its 844-page plan for “comprehensive immigration reform” this week.
The eight supporting senators at a press conference yesterday said it was the best and most viable solution for a compromise for both sides of the aisle.
“We will oppose all amendments that inhibit a bipartisan resolution” said Sen. John McCain R-Ariz.
McCain attacked the current immigration system, saying, “The status quo is not acceptable.” He said America is “a nation with a conscious and cannot tolerate violations of human rights,” which he suggested the current system does by forcing illegal aliens to “remain in the shadows.”
The immigration reform plan can be viewed online.
Despite an apparent showing of bipartisan support for the legislation, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told WND in an interview that he has “major concerns.”
“I do not think it is a good idea to start out an immigration reform bill that tries to address the needs of the 11 million upfront,” said Lee. “We have the opportunity to straighten border security, reform our visa system and implement fully our long-sought-after visa entry and exist system.”
Lee criticized the plan, saying, “This bill tries to do all of that at once.”
Rather, he suggested, “What we ought to be doing is trying to fix the issue of border security. Then we can better deal with the 11 million here.
“What we want is for people to come here legally,” Lee said, adding that in the past, “We have made it very easy for people to come here illegally, but not come here legally.”
As for the claim that 11 to 25 million illegal aliens being legalized in the workforce will increase job competition, Lee said, “We need to address that issue carefully rather than legalizing 11 million people in one fell swoop.”
He said he will likely propose amendments to the bill, but his staff is reading it.
Lee is not alone in his concerns. This week, the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, or FAIR, hosted its “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event.
At the FAIR event, WND spoke to former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who predicted the Senate plan has a 50-50 chance of passing the Senate, upon which it will be confronted by the House’s anti-amnesty “Gang of Six.”
The House’s “Gang of Six” is Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; Mo Brooks, R-Ala.; Louie Gohmert, R-Texas; Steve King, R-Iowa; and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.
King recently spoke out against the Senate plan, calling it “aggressive and outrageous amnesty.”
In an interview with WND, Gohmert said the plan is “a magnet drawing people into this country, some for jobs, some for amnesty.”
During the Gang of Eight press conference Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took a subtle shot at his tea party base, saying, “To my friends who believe in limited government and free enterprise … who helped me got elected … we are a nation of immigrants. We’re not going to deport them.”
In addition to the concerns about job displacement and declining wages, both Sens. Al Franken, D-Wis., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., expressed concerns about the effects the proposed immigration law will have on immigrant homosexual couples.
At the opening of the hearing, Leahy declared that it is time to “end the discrimination against gay and lesbian immigrant couples.” Franken also declared that current law hurts homosexual couples.