Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tore into conservative critics who have sought to exploit the Boston bombings to delay immigration reform, eliciting a strong rebuke from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
“The American people are overwhelmingly in favor of immigration reform,” Schumer noted during Monday morning’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, “The Chairman has a very open process to review ways to improve the bill offer an amendment when we start markup in May and let’s vote on it.” He then sought to dissuade lawmakers from using the events of last week to slow walk the bipartisan bill proposed last week by the Gang of 8, but his comments were met with anger from the Republicans on the committee:
SCHUMER: I say that to those pointing to what happened, terrible tragedy in Boston as, I would say, an excuse for not doing a bill or delaying in many months or years.
GRASSLEY: I never said that. I never said that!
SCHUMER: I never said you did, Sir.
GRASSLEY: I didn’t say anything about delaying the bill.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): Mr. Chairman, I don’t appreciate —
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Let me finish. We are going to have probably the most open process on this. It will be debate in the committee, we will have time for it.
During a hearing on Friday, Grassley argued that “[g]iven the events of this week, it’s important to understand the gaps and loopholes” in the immigration system. “While we don’t yet know the immigration status of people who terrorized the the communities in Massachusetts, when we find out, it will help shed light on the weaknesses of our system.”