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Immigration Reform After Boston

April 24, 2013 6:18 pm ET
In the wake of the Boston bombings, national security experts and bipartisan lawmakers have reaffirmed the longstanding need for immigration reform while other lawmakers are trying to use the perpetrators' histories to derail legislative progress altogether. Call out politicians trying to use those terrorist attacks for political purposes as an excuse to preserve the broken immigration system.

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CORE MESSAGE

The killers came here as kids -- the problem is what happened after they got here, not how they came.

Connect: We've known for years that our immigration system is broken and it's still broken today.

Define: Politicians outside the American mainstream are trying to use the Boston bombings as political cover for derailing reform and keeping our immigration system broken.

Illustrate: They can't round up and deport millions of immigrants who've been living in America for years, so they'd rather have them stay second-class people, exploited and not accounted for by our system.

Discredit: These politicians started using the bombings as cover to stop immigration reform before we knew about the terrorists, including the fact that the terrorists grew up in America.

Challenge: The perpetrators behind the Boston attacks came to the U.S. as children over a decade ago. The problem is that the oldest became a loser misfit rejected by the community after he got here, not how he first came here.

Lead: If these lawmakers really wanted to enhance America's national security, they would stop standing in the way of common-sense reforms that will make us safer -- like keeping better track of visitors from other countries who overstay their visas.


QUOTES TO REMEMBER

"In fact, the opposite is true. Immigration reform will strengthen our nation's security."
-- Senator John McCain (R-AZ), responding to calls to delay immigration reform in response to Boston.

"What happened in Boston and international terrorism I think should urge us to act quicker, not slower."
-- Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

"For the sake of our national security we want to modernize our immigration laws."
-- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)

"If we fix our immigration system it may actually help us understand who all is here, why they're here, and what legal status they have."
-- GOP House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

"What is indisputable, is that we have an immigration system that is broken."
-- Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) 


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES


ATTACK: "The bombing suspects were a part of an army of Islamists."
RESPONSE:

  • According to U.S. officials and the available facts, the Boston bombers may have acted as lone wolf terrorists without anyone else's involvement. These were two young men who grew up in America, one of whom was a misfit who had been kicked out of his mosque.
  • Instead, we should be targeting terrorists based on evidence, not singling out an entire group of people just because of how they pray. That's more effective at keeping us safe than putting the American Muslim community under surveillance.
  • Standing by our values and institutions is a fundamental American strength. As Americans, we are stronger and safer in the face of security threats against our country when we stick together.
  • In the aftermath of the bombings, we saw how our fellow Americans -- including an American Muslim first responder -- ran towards the sounds of danger to help. That is America at its best -- coming together and standing together when tragedy tries to knock us down.


ATTACK: "Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim."
RESPONSE:

  • Actually, American Muslim leaders are among the most strongly outspoken against violent extremism -- including the leaders of the Boston bomber's mosque, which had kicked him out and doesn't recognize him as part of their faith community.
  • Dozens of terrorist attacks have been prevented since 9/11 because American Muslims spoke up to law enforcement when they've seen suspicious behavior -- just like any American would.
  • American Muslims are our neighbors, doctors, and teachers -- and they include first responders on the scene in Boston and members of our military who've died defending our freedoms. And it was an American Muslim street vendor who raised the alarm to stop the Times Square bomber.
  • We need leaders who protect us from violent extremists -- not politicians who use religion to drive a wedge between us.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Foreign Policy - Religion - Immigration - National Security

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