BOSTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Two Republican lawmakers urged greater scrutiny of U.S. Muslims and the shelving of immigration reform during the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Sunday the FBI should intensify its efforts to ferret out radical Muslim terrorists who may be living in the United States while Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said he favored holding off on immigration legislation until more is learned about the two natives of Chechnya who were accused of planting the deadly bombings.
King and Coats were among the members of Congress who called Sunday for a close look at the potential reasons the Tsarnaev brothers were apparently not under law-enforcement scrutiny despite a lengthy visit Tamerlan Tsarnaev made to Russia and Dagestan in 2011.
Although a solid connection to Chechen militants has not yet been established, King said on "Fox News Sunday" the bombing pointed out the U.S. war on radical Islamist terrorism was not over and law enforcement need to keep developing information within the Muslim community in the United States. "If you know a certain threat is coming from a certain community, that's where you have to look," said King, who added that "99 percent of Muslims (in the United States) are outstanding Americans."
Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told ABC's "This Week" the Boston investigation had a greater sense of urgency than immigration reform and probably reform should be put on hold until the dust settled.
"Immigration is an issue that has dramatic economic effect on Americans. It also has national security implications," Coats said. "I think stepping back just a little bit and putting it on hold (is a good idea because), 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."
Meanwhile, the surviving suspect, Dzhokar Tsarnaev, remained hospitalized while lawmakers debated whether or not he should be charged criminally or held as an enemy combatant who could be interrogated by intelligence officers without being represented by an attorney.
The mayor of Boston said Sunday he hoped the U.S. government would "throw the book" at the accused marathon bomber.
"I hope that the U.S. attorney, Carmen Ortiz, takes him on the federal side and throws the book at him," Mayor Thomas Menino said on ABC's "This Week." "These two individuals held this whole city hostage for five days. That's what these terrorist events want to do, hold the city hostage and stop the economy of the city."
Tsarnaev is accused of setting off the two backpack bombs that caused three deaths and injured dozens during the Boston Marathon last week and then allegedly gunned down a university police officer before Tsarnaev was arrested and his older brother, Tamerlane, killed in a gun battle.
The federal government was expected to charge 19-year-old Dzhokar with terrorism as early as Sunday, sources told CNN.
"He is in no condition to be interrogated at this point in time," Police Commissioner Ed Davis told "Fox News Sunday.
"We are examining every possibility here," said Davis. "We have told the people of Boston we feel that they're safe at this point in time, and we continue to say that. There may be other components to this investigation that will lead to charges down the road. This is a very intensive and wide-ranging inquiry."
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