“You usually end up with bad policy if you do it in an emotional way or an emotional reaction,” said Coats on ABC’s “This Week.” “We saw some things post-9/11 that were enacted that if we had had a little bit more rational time to think this through, perhaps we wouldn't have had some of the pushback on it.
Coats said he would rather have his colleagues focus their attention on fiscal issues before tackling immigration.
“I think stepping back just a little bit and putting it on hold, for instance, we have a bigger issue than immigration in front of us. And that's our debt deficit and it's got to get solved,” he said.
The bombing attack allegedly carried by two ethnic Chechens raised in Kyrgyzstan, who immigrated to the United States has raised questions about the nation’s immigration laws just as senators are pushing a bipartisan reform proposal.
The Senate proposal by the bipartisan Gang of Eight would provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegals already in the United States as well as expand visas for both low and high-skilled workers. The bill would also strengthen border security measures.
Critics of immigration reform have seized on the Boston attack and urged caution, but senators behind the bipartisan reform effort say their measures can best repair the currently broken system.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last week, however, issued a joint statement opposing efforts to delay the bill.
“Immigration reform will strengthen our nation’s security by helping us identify exactly who has entered our country and who has left – a basic function of government that our broken immigration system is incapable of accomplishing today. The status quo is unacceptable,” they said.
Also appearing on ABC, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee said there was no reason to delay immigration reform.
“We're a nation of immigrants. I trust our government. We vet people up and down. We review policies every day. But to put it on hold is not in the best interest of this country,” said Thompson.