Immigration Reform Took a Hit Today

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The anti-immigration right has jumped on this morning’s news to argue that this is not the time to loosen our immigration laws. After all, the two guys who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon have turned out to be a pair of immigrants. As radio host Bryan Fischer says, “Time to tighten, not loosen, immigration policy.” Greg Sargent comments:

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.

I think it’s safe to say that this argument will pick up steam. Why wouldn’t it, after all? It’s a gut punch to the idea that immigrants are no more dangerous than natives, and it doesn’t matter which side logic is on. It’s a strong appeal to emotions, and it’s probably an effective one.

A few days ago, someone asked: Who are you secretly hoping the bombers turn out to be? My answer was, whatever kind of person is least likely to have any effect whatsoever on public policy. Chechnyans with a grudge of some kind actually fit this bill fairly well, and since the immigration debate is focused mostly on Mexico it might not even have too much impact there. Still, it will have some effect. I don’t know if today’s news will kill immigration reform, but a bill that was on a knife edge already doesn’t need any further setbacks. This is going to hurt its chances.

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