Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul won the coveted position of "Republican liberals kind of like" with his drone-related filibuster earlier this year. Paul will surely disappoint them today with his demand that the Senate delay immigration reform until until we figure out how the Boston marathon bombers got into America, and how to prevent that from happening in the future. The thing is, we know how the Tsaraevs got into America. It's not because there were warning signs and they slipped through our fingers. They got into America because they were kids.
Paul writes in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?
The two individuals were allowed to immigrate because we don't expect children to become terrorists just because people of their ethnicity live in a violent place. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsaraev were 15 and 8, respectively, when they came to America. They reportedly immigrated from Kyrgyzstan, not Chechnya. They came with their family on a tourist visa, and sought asylum. As The Atlantic Wire's Philip Bump explains, asylum-seekers have to go through a process that includes biometric identification and background checks. Dzhokhar became a permanent resident in 2007, when he was 14.