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Most Americans say Boston attack not an immigration issue: poll

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (L), 26, is pictured in 2010 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is pictured in an undated FB
Tamerlan Tsarnaev (L), 26, is pictured in 2010 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is pictured in an undated FB

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most Americans do not see the Boston Marathon bombing and its suspects as an immigration issue, according to a poll released on Wednesday that also found the U.S. public still relatively inattentive to the debate on revising immigration laws.

While discussion of the immigration bill is still in its early stages, the blasts last month have been mentioned by some Republicans as a reason to go slow on the legislation.

U.S. law enforcement officials have named two ethnic Chechen brothers as perpetrators of the April 15 attack.

One, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police three days after the bombing. The other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has been charged and is being held in custody. Officials have said both brothers came to the United States legally a decade ago, and that Dzhokhar is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

According to the Pew Research Center survey, only 36 percent of respondents said the Boston attack should be considered an "important factor" in the debate over how to revamp U.S. immigration law, while 58 percent said it was "mostly a separate issue."

Also, 57 percent of those polled said immigration changes would "not make much difference" when it comes to preventing similar attacks in the future, while the rest were split.

The Pew researchers noted that "the debate over immigration policy has drawn little public attention."

Just 19 percent of respondents said they were closely following the debate over the comprehensive immigration bill, Pew said. And most of those polled did not know about some of the legislation's key aspects, it added.

Overall, respondents were divided over the Senate immigration proposal, with 33 percent in favor and 28 percent against it, according to the telephone survey of 1,003 adults across the United States conducted from April 25 to April 28. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

The bipartisan bill being pushed by a bipartisan group of eight senators aims to bolster border security, help provide workers and create an earned pathway to U.S. citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

A Senate committee is expected to take up the bill next week.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Fred Barbash and David Brunnstrom)

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