White House calls for immigration reform after NYC terror attack

The White House on Monday called on Congress to overhaul the immigration system, saying an attack in New York City is evidence the U.S. needs to strengthen border security.

“This attack underscores the need for Congress to work with the president on immigration reforms that enhance the national security and public safety,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “We must protect our borders and we must ensure that individuals entering our country are not coming to do harm to people, and we must move to a merit-based immigration system.”

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A 27-year-old man from Bangladesh was arrested earlier Monday after he allegedly detonated an improvised bomb near the Port Authority Bus Terminal during rush hour.

No one was killed in the attack, but several people were injured.

There is speculation that the suspect was inspired by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), although officials have not confirmed this.

“This attack comes as our coalition continues to make great gains against ISIS,” Sanders said.

“There is still more work to be done on the ground in shrinking ISIS-controlled areas and the plan to eradicate ISIS is moving forward. But we must also destroy the evil ideology that is behind ISIS in the attacks like today," she added. "The president has successfully rallied the world behind this cause, and we will not stop until this is accomplished.”

Bangladesh is not on the list of countries impacted by the president’s travel ban, but the White House said the suspect was allowed into the country through a family immigrant visa, seven years ago, that the administration has sought to curb.

“We know that the president's policy calls for an end to chain migration, which is what this individual came to the United States through, and if his policy had been in place, then that attacker would not have been allowed to come in the country,” Sanders sad.

“That's why the president has pushed for ... a responsible and total immigration reform, and that's why we have to look at all sectors and do what we can to make sure we're doing everything within our power to protect the American people.”