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Of course the Boston bombing should affect the immigration debate

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In the wake of learning that the two Boston bombers were Chechen immigrants, supporters of amnesty rushed to argue that that fact should not affect debate over potential legislation. After all, Dzhokar was a naturalized citizen, and his older brother Tamerlan had a green card. But while the Tsarnaev family was here legally, what I have not seen any mainstream media source mention is that they likely immigrated fraudulently. And that very much raises questions about current American immigration policy.

The Tsarnaev family were admitted to live and work here because they claimed political asylum: political asylum is only available to "refugees"—someone unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of forbidden grounds. To get asylum, the Tsarnaevs must have made this claim under oath. But the claim was clearly a lie: the patriarch, Anzor, got bored with America and left his bomber sons behind to seek medical treatment in his home country. His estranged wife decided that she would rather be in Dagestan than face the minor consequences of a shoplifting arrest here. And Tamerlan went back and forth, spending months in Dagestan. Nothing about the situation for Chechens or part-Chechens changed in Dagestan over the last ten years. If the Tsarnaevs had told the truth in their asylum hearing, they would have been deported.

As I've previously noted, the U.S. government used to be much more skeptical about asylum claims: acceptance rates have nearly quintupled between 1986 and 2010. If 1986 standards had been applied to the Tsarnaevs, it is more likely than not they never would have been permitted to remain in the country—though, under the Obama administration, a majority of deportation orders are simply ignored. It seems to me that both issues raise valid questions to be asking about current immigration policy, especially after four dead at the hand of two brothers from a family with multiple members arrested since arriving here.

More: Steyn.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

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