Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats says immigration reform should be pushed back “a month or two” until “emotions settle down” in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Boston, which authorities believe were carried out by two immigrants from southern Russia.
In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Coats argued the point with Council on Foreign Relations chairman Richard Haas. According to Haas, the attacks in Boston underscored why the Senate’s “Gang of Eight”-authored immigration reform bill should be passed quickly.
“One of the things the immigration reform bill will deal with is the 11 or 12 million people who are in this country but are still living in the shadows,” Haas said. “One of the lessons of this incident — we need to integrate all Americans into this society. We want to mainstream them. Rather than delaying the bill, I actually think we should move it even faster.”
“We thought about this for years, economically but also in terms of our national security. This bill will help make America safer because more Americans will come into the mainstream [and] will no longer be forced to live in some twilight-shadowed area. That’s one of the lessons that we out to take from this: alienated young people, not part of the mainstream fully — dangerous thing,” Haas continued.
Coats argued for the opposite approach and said that a bill should not be rushed through Congress “based on the urgency of the moment.”
“I’m the last person on the opposite side of all this — I’m simply saying just push it back a month or two, let the emotions settle down,” Coats said. “Let us do it in a rational way and make good judgments not based on the urgency of the moment. Congress has a way of just rushing to judgments without thinking it through carefully. We’re talking months here, or a few weeks, not years.”