Politicians finally have enough material to begin exploiting the Boston marathon bombing. Before we knew who the suspects were, Politico's Dylan Byers complained that while we knew were "on the verge of a very important national conversation about something," no one knew what it was. Now we know! For Immigration, plus a little guns. Or the same things people have been talking about for weeks now.
Take Arkansas state Rep. Nate Bell, who in the bid for opportunistic tweet of the week wrote Friday morning, "I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine? #2A." He was not the only one who had this thought. So did Fox News' Kaie Pavlich, who wrote, "'Oh, the guy who bombed Boston is on the loose in my neighborhood? Super glad I don't have an AR-15 with 30 round mags' Said nobody, ever."
AR-15s, while quite useful in the hands of well-trained people, aren't very effectiveag against hidden IEDs left in a crowd. Or that law enforcement has been pretty clear about not wanting the help of wannabe vigilantes.
But with the the gun control debate pretty much dead in D.C., there are some who are eager to use the Boston bombing for something fresher, like immigration. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley opened a Senate hearing Friday by saying, "We also appreciate the opportunity to talk about immigration, particularly in light of all that’s happening in Massachusetts right now and over the last week..." He said Boston shows we must make sure "those who would do us harm do not receive benefits under the immigration laws." Iowa Rep. Steve King said something similar earlier this week.
New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer scolded Grassley for tying Boston to immigration, Breitbart News' Matthew Boyle notes. "Before I get to the bill, I’d like to ask that all of us not jump to conclusions regarding the events in Boston or try to conflate those events with this legislation," Schumer said. But Schumer felt the need to spin the immigration bill as a possible solution. "In general, we are a safer country when law enforcement knows who is here, has their fingerprints, photos, et cetera, background checks," Schumer said. The "gang of eight" immigration bill would create a path to legalization that begins with illegal immigrants getting background checks and submitting a lot of documents to prove residency and income.
Florida Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart followed the same plan. He scolded Grassley, saying, "Linking something like that to other legislation I think is probably not appropriate at this time." But! If you're going to link them... better to say we need to fix the immigrant screening system than to imply we need fewer immigrants over all: "Every crime that is committed right now is under the current immigration system," Diaz-Balart said. "So what does that lead me to believe? We need to fix the current immigration system, if in fact there is any connection between immigration at all."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.