Miami, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2013 – Acts of terrorism involving immigrants often affects the public point of view about immigration reform.
“It is not unusual to note public interest in immigration reform drops precipitously in the wake of terrorist acts involving immigrants. Whether that is constitutionally fair or a valid reaction is another conundrum,” indicated Larry S. Rifkin, a Miami immigration lawyer and managing partner at Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, with law offices in Miami, Florida and Orlando, Florida.
The Boston bombings created a tidal wave of anti-immigration feelings across the nation. Included in those proposing even stricter rules and regulations dealing with immigrants were politicians. The national point-of-view was graphically reflected in a Quinnipac poll that revealed support for immigration reform plummeted from 59 percent to 52 percent — the lowest it has ever been. A solid 30 percent of poll respondents now express a distinct preference for illegal aliens, or those who overstay their visas, to go back to their homeland before they may seek American citizenship.
Moving forward in the wake of such heinous acts, there is a major concern for how such terrorism affects not only the country as a whole, but immigrants in particular. Twenty-two percent of those in the Quinnipac poll, stated their belief that offering immigrants a path to citizenship would result in more acts of terrorism. “It’s a mindset of fear that just because one or two immigrants committed an unspeakable act of terrorism, that all members of that same group will as well,” added Rifkin. While the same could be said for an Anglo Saxon group of individuals engaging in terrorist acts, not all Anglo Saxons are terrorists.
The Boston bombers had emigrated to the United States in 2002 and were granted asylum. The older brother, Tamerlan was a legal resident. The younger, Dzhokhar became a citizen in 2012.
Is it the right thing to put the brakes on immigration reform in light of the Boston bombings or any other act of terrorism? “It appears politicians on the Hill think so and suggest that legalizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the country would be a dangerous move,” Rifkin said. “This is like keeping a whole class of children in after school because one threw a spit ball. Not everyone is a bad egg.”
As a stand alone event, the bombings have provided opponents of immigration reform a platform to preach halting reform instead of moving it forward. One Senator was even heard to say the bombings were a sign to halt progress on reform. Another Senator stated that was a ridiculous opinion to hold. “Who will win the battle on this issue? It’s hard to say,” suggested Rifkin, “but one thing is clear, the Boston bombings have all but arrested any further progress on immigration reform. No one is clear on what it will take to unjam the process. However, it is still eminently clear that ethnic voters want it completed.”
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