Kevin Drum was asked a few days ago who he was secretly hoping the bombers would turn out to be. His answer was “whatever kind of person is least likely to have any effect whatsoever on public policy.” And that’s a good answer. Because such situations are often exploited to support very bad policies (Patriot Act, anyone?).
And Drum is correct that the right will use this as a reason to kill immigration reform, despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing in that bill that would have anything remotely to do with this situation. As Greg Sargent notes, conservatives are already trying to use it as a reason to kill the compromise immigration bill that would provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship (a very difficult and cumbersome path, by the way).
Some on the right are already pouncing on the news to cast doubt on the desirability of immigration reform…
Meanwhile, over at the Washington Examiner, Conn Carroll, a Rubio critic and immigration reform skeptic, wrote that we still don’t know a good deal about the two brothers, adding that today’s planned Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the new immigration reform proposal should be delayed. “Today is not the day for an immigration hearing,” Carroll concluded…It’s unclear thus far how widespread the effort among conservatives will be to connect the Boston bombing suspects to the immigration reform debate. But it’s certainly something that bears watching. If this argument picks up steam, it will be another indication of how ferocious the resistance on the right to immigration reform is going to get.
But nothing in the immigration package would have prevented the Tsernaev family from being granted asylum 11 years ago or prevented Dzhokhar Tsernaev from getting American citizenship. They were entirely legal immigrants, which the anti-reform folks say they’re all for. The only way this is at all relevant to the immigration debate is if you’re taking the position that we should not let anyone come into the country at all, for any reason. And that’s the kind of position taken only by xenophobic and racist authoritarians.