A tale of two Pauls: Rand Paul and Paul Ryan differ on immigration reform in wake of Boston Marathon bombings

Two top Washington Republicans agree that the nation’s “broken immigration system” in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, but are divided on how to go about it.

Both Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) referenced last week’s bombings to address pertinent questions on national security Monday. While Paul argued that the bombings should be used to stall the debate on immigration reform, Ryan pointed to last week’s tragedy as a reason to push through legislation.

Paul argued that Congress “should not proceed” on immigration reform until “we understand the specific failures of our immigration system in a letter written to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

“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?” Paul wrote in his letter.

“Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?”
According to the freshman senator, if Congress doesn’t “use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.”

During a speech at a Chicago church on Monday, Ryan agreed with Paul’s remarks that the immigration system is flawed, but he encouraged Congress to make headway on reform.

“We have a broken immigration system, and if anything, what we see in Boston is that we have to fix and modernize our immigration system for lots of reasons,” Ryan said. “National security reasons, economic security reasons. For all those reasons we need to fix our broken immigration system.”
Last week, the Gang of Eight introduced its plan for immigration reform and the House is currently working on its own bipartisan plan.

During a White House briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney echoed the calls of Ryan and other Republican lawmakers to move quickly on immigration reform in the wake of the Boston bombings.

“Well, I think we agree with what some of the co-authors of the bill, including Sens. McCain, Graham and Rubio, which is that one of the positive effects and one of the reasons we need comprehensive immigration reform is that it will enhance national security,” Carney said during the briefing. “We need to move forward with this bipartisan legislation.”

By Laura Byrne /// April 22, 2013