• Tamerlan Tsarnaev waits for a decision during the 2009 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions on May 4, 2009. (Glenn DePriest/Getty Images)The immigration status of the Boston bombings suspects may become a stumbling block for a new bill that seeks to legalize nearly 11 million immigrants and increase the number of legal immigrants to the United States.

    Opponents of the bill—which was crafted by a bipartisan "Gang of Eight" in the Senate—and even some supporters, say the process of reforming the country's immigration system should be stalled until all the facts about the suspects' interactions with the immigration system are known.

    Both Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two brothers accused of the Boston Marathon bombings, emigrated to the United States legally from Russia as refugees a decade ago when they were children. The Tsarnaev family, which is ethnically Chechen, was granted asylum because it feared persecution in its home country, according to media reports.

    Tamerlan's application for citizenship was put on hold in 2012 by the government, because he had been questioned by the FBI at the request of the Russian government for possible ties to Chechen terrorism, the New York Times reported. Dzhokhar's citizenship application was approved, and he naturalized in 2012.

    At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the bill on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended immigration officials' handling of the Tsarnaevs, saying the process for granting asylum is rigorous.

    "In the past four years we have increased both the number and the coverage of the vetting that goes on," Napolitano said. As things currently stand, she noted, those who seek asylum must go through multiple screening interviews and submit biometric data to be checked across government databases. If granted asylum and legal status, immigrants must go through two more interviews if they want to become citizens when they become eligible five years later.

    (Asylum applicants must show that they face government-sanctioned persecution in their home country stemming from their race, religion, nationality, political views or membership in a particular social group.)

    Napolitano argued that the immigration reform bill would make the country safer because the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country would be brought "out of the shadows" and screened. The bill requires immigrants to pass a background check before they are eligible for temporary legal status. They must pay fines and back taxes and enroll in English classes to gain permanent legal status.

    Opponents of the immigration bill have argued that the Tsarnaevs' alleged crime suggests that the current immigration system is unable to weed out potential terrorists, and that the process of crafting the bill should be slowed down to address that. If the bill is stalled until next fall, opponents hope it will be close enough to the next election that on-the-fence lawmakers will withdraw their support, effectively killing the bill. President Barack Obama has said he hopes the bill will pass this summer.

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the most prominent opponents of legalizing immigrants, said at Monday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the legalization process in the bill could present a national security threat.

    "The background checks in this bill are insufficient from preventing a terrorist from getting amnesty," Kobach said.

    Supporters of the immigration reform bill say the argument is a specious excuse to delay the legislation.

    Read More »from Bombing suspects’ immigration status could stall reform
  • Obama to keynote Planned Parenthood gala

    President Barack Obama (Charles Dharapak/AP)President Barack Obama will keynote Planned Parenthood's annual gala on Thursday night, the abortion rights group announced on Tuesday.

    “President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “We are honored to have President Obama join us at our 'Time for Care’ Gala at this pivotal moment for women's health.”

    The White House had previously confirmed the president would attend the gala in Washington, D.C. But his keynote address wasn't publicly announced until Tuesday.

    Discussions about the country's abortion laws have increased in recent weeks amid the Philadelphia murder trial of former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with murdering a woman during an abortion procedure and with killing seven babies.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said on April 15 that the president could not take a position on the case because it is currently in trial.

    Carney said Obama is "aware" of it, and later added that "certainly, the things that you hear and read about this case are unsettling."

    Read More »from Obama to keynote Planned Parenthood gala
  • Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus will not seek re-election next year, the senator announced on Tuesday.

    "I have decided not to seek reelection in 2014," Baucus said in a statement. "I will serve out my term, and then it will be time to go home to Montana."

    Baucus plans to fulfill his sixth term in the chamber and will step down before the next session in 2015. The lawmaker chairs the powerful Senate Committee on Finance, and he played an influential role in writing the federal health care law that passed in 2010.

    Baucus had deeply angered the White House in recent days, first by opposing bipartisan legislation to enhance background checks of would-be gun purchasers. Baucus’ “no” vote helped kill the background check measure, and he was among the lawmakers President Barack Obama targeted with a blistering Rose Garden tirade against “shameful” inside-the-Beltway politics.

    “There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this,” Obama said. “It came down to politics—the worry

    Read More »from Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus will not seek re-election

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    NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports' governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn't go nearly far enough.

  • AP ANALYSIS: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge
    AP ANALYSIS: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

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  • Weight-Loss Supplement Linked to Liver Failure Case

    A healthy 35-year-old woman who took a weight-loss supplement developed liver failure, and needed a liver transplant, according to a new report of her case. The woman took three Saba Appetite Control and Energy (ACE) pills within two days, and two weeks later she developed jaundice, according to the report from researchers at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, who treated the woman. Eight weeks after her jaundice set in, the woman experienced liver failure and needed a transplant. "In summary, this case of drug-induced fulminant liver failure was likely due to Saba ACE supplement," the investigators wrote.

  • One-third of Americans are delinquent on their debt
    One-third of Americans are delinquent on their debt

    More than one-third of Americans had debt in collections in 2013, according to a new study by the Urban Institute.

  • Rough Road Ahead: Rocky Mars Terrain Challenges Curiosity Rover
    Rough Road Ahead: Rocky Mars Terrain Challenges Curiosity Rover

    The Curiosity rover's wheels have taken a beating thus far on Mars, and the road ahead may be even rockier. The 1-ton robot has just crossed out of its landing ellipse — the 12- by 4-mile (19 by 7 kilometers) zone that was targeted for its dramatic August 2012 touchdown — and is now moving toward an increasingly challenging landscape called the Zabriskie Plateau, mission team members said. "We are heading out into very rough terrain," Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger, a geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said during a presentation at the 8th International Conference on Mars, which took place at Caltech last week. Curiosity embarked last July on a roughly 5-mile (8 km) drive to the base of Mount Sharp, which has long been its ultimate science destination.

  • Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids
    Trafficking bust reveals worries over missing kids

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The 168 juveniles recovered last month during an FBI child sex trafficking bust included some kids who had never been reported missing, a population that law enforcement encounters often and that child welfare advocates say they're especially concerned about.

  • This tiny Android projector puts an 80-inch touchscreen on your wall
    This tiny Android projector puts an 80-inch touchscreen on your wall

    TouchPico is an Android-powered pico projector that’s about the same size as the Galaxy S4, and it can turn any surface, including a wall, into a touch-friendly 80-inch screen. With 28 days left in its Indiegogo campaign, the TouchPico has already raised more than $96,000 in pledges, topping its $55,000 funding goal. The trick component of the TouchPico that turns it into projector with a touchscreen display is the special infrared stylus accessory, whose movements are captured by the projector’s camera and turned into actions on the projected screens. In addition to working like a touch-enabled Android desktop, or a large tablet, the TouchPico also lets users project content from other devices on a wall, including Macs and PCs. The device

  • Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert
    Ebola fears grow with Europe and Asia on alert

    Fears that the west African Ebola outbreak could spread to other continents grew on Wednesday with European and Asian countries on alert and a leading medical charity warning the epidemic was out of control. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse and warned there was no overarching strategy to handle the world's worst-ever outbreak of the disease. Hong Kong announced quarantine measures for suspected cases, although one woman arriving from Africa with possible symptoms tested negative, while the EU said it was ready to deal with the threat. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has held talks with global health officials on potential measures to halt the spread of the disease.

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