Gang of Eight to delay rollout of immigration bill after Boston blasts

The Senate’s Gang of Eight will postpone the rollout of comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the wake of two bomb blasts that killed three people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, according to Senate aides. 

Dozens of people were hurt by the explosions, which authorities immediately suspected of being set off by terrorists.

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A Senate Democratic aide said the legislation will be released on Tuesday as scheduled but a press event set up with activists, business leaders and other stakeholders will be postponed.

A Senate Republican aide confirmed the press conference will not take place Tuesday.

The Republican members of the Gang of Eight briefed colleagues on the legislation Monday evening in the Senate’s Strom Thurmond Room. The Republicans on the Gang of Eight are Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.).  

The four Democrats are Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), and Michael Bennet (Co.).

Sens. Schumer and McCain will visit the White House Tuesday to brief Obama on the legislation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Monday evening that terrorists were likely responsible for the Boston explosions.

“My understanding is that it’s a terrorist incident,” she said. “It could be foreign, it could be domestic.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called for a moment of silence in the upper chamber Monday evening. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did the same in the House.

Suspicion of a terrorist link to the death and maiming of dozens of people on American soil is certain to become a focus of members of Congress and likely to distract public attention from the Senate debates on gun-control and immigration reform legislation.

President Obama vowed Monday the individuals responsible for the carnage will be punished. 

“Make no mistake. We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this. We will find out how they did this,” the president said in remarks from the White House. “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” 

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