Boston Mayor Pleads Ignorance on 2013 Bombers’ Immigration Status

'I don't even know the situation,' Mayor Walsh says when asked if Tsarnaev brothers were refugees

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Thursday professed ignorance about the immigration status of the two men implicated in the infamous and deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

In a wide-ranging discussion about immigration on the “Howie Carr Show,” the issue of the terrorist attack came up.

“Those two guys were here long before that. I’m not sure when they came here.”

“Who bombed the Boston Marathon?” radio host Howie Carr asked.

Answered the mayor: “Those two guys were here long before that. I’m not sure when they came here.”

But Carr pressed. Were they refugees?

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“I don’t even know the situation,” Walsh said.

It seems implausible that the mayor of Boston would be unaware of the details of a major terrorist attack that occurred in his own city only a year before he took office.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, were Chechens who lived in the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan when they were young. Their parents fled for the United States in 2002 and applied for asylum.

In 2013, the Tsarnaev brothers killed an MIT policeman, kidnapped a man in his car and engaged in a shootout with the police in a nearby town. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died during the exchange, while authorities later captured his brother. Three people died in the bombing, which also wounded another 264 people.

Responding to President Donald Trump’s temporary travel restrictions from seven terrorism-compromised countries, Walsh pointed to a refugee who was blocked from returning to the United States to study at Tufts University.

“She wasn’t a terrorist,” he said. “She was coming here to get her Ph.D. at Tufts. Is that what we want to do in this country?”

He added: “You can’t point to every single person, immigrant, in this country with the same broad brush.”

Walsh also revealed unfamiliarity with immigration history when he likened anti-immigrant sentiment today to discrimination his Irish ancestors faced in Boston in the early 20th century.

“And you know what happened? They cut off immigration of people like us, didn’t they? For a long time,” Carr said.

The mayor responded: “I think it was more like the ’60s or ’70s.”

That is false, however, as Carr noted. The federal government hit the brakes on immigration in the early 20th century, and the foreign-born population plummeted. In 1965, rather than restrict immigration, Congress passed the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. This ushered in an immigration boom that continues today.

“You gotta read more, Marty, come on,” Carr said.

Walsh agreed.

“If I had more time, I would,” he said.

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