Reps. Luis Gutierrez and Tammy Duckworth joined Sen. Dick Durbin Monday in Chicago to discuss immigration reform, addressing the recent terror attack in Manhattan.
“Immigrants are good, hard workers,” Durbin said. “Comprehensive immigration reform will make America more secure.”
Durbin’s claims come in the wake of Saturday's terror-related blast in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood that left 29 people injured. An unexploded pressure cooker with a cellphone attached and wires protruding was found four blocks away. The device was taken to a firing range and safely detonated.
The discovery of the Manhattan devices came hours after a pipe bomb exploded in a trash bin at the Marine 5K charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Authorities believe the device was timed to go off as participants were running by. The event was ultimately cancelled and no one was hurt.
Ahmad Rahami, 28, a naturalized US citizen originally from Afghanistan, was arrested in connection with the bombings following a gun battle with police Monday that left two officers wounded, officials said.
It wasn’t clear if the suspect was linked to five pipe bombs — one of which was inadvertently detonated by a robot — found at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey late Sunday, not far from where the suspected terrorist was captured. Five people believed to be relatives or associates of Rahami were taken into custody Sunday following a traffic stop on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. No one was charged with a crime and authorities said they weren't looking for any additional suspects Monday.
Durbin pushed for a vigilant investigation into the bombings Monday.
“The arrest of the suspected terrorist and bomber in New Jersey is good news, but that’s not the end of the investigation,” Durbin said. “We’ve got to make sure we follow this to ground, to find out what inspired him, who motivated him, how he was financed. We’ve got to make sure we do this in a thoughtful, sensitive way.”
The senator called immigration reform “a critical part to security” and faulted Republicans for halting a bill to reform immigration policy that passed the Senate in 2013, but has since stalled in the House of Representatives.
“The comprehensive immigration reform required by 11 million people, if they wanted to be on a pathway to legal immigration, to come out of the shadows, register with the government and submit themselves to criminal background check that makes America a safer nation,” the senator said. “The Republicans killed that bill.”
Gutierrez also pushed for reform Monday after stating that Islam is not a threat—but rather Radical Islam.
“If anything, immigration reform is necessary so that we take millions of people out of the shadows,” the congressman said. “Are we safer having 11 million people living in the shadows, or integrating them fully into our American society.”
Duckworth said Americans need to restrain themselves “from the fear mongering that’s happening.”
“Comprehensive immigration reform is about our national security,” she added.
As part of his campaign, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has proposed a ban on Muslim immigration to the United States that has been widely criticized, NBC News reported.