They came into the United States as visitors from Kazakhstan, where many ethnic Chechens live without persecution and then cooked up a claim to be refugees, which was a fraud. After a few years, the father returned to Dagestan, Russia, where he now lives safely.
Once admitted into the United States, the entire family cashed in on generous U.S. welfare benefits, cash and food stamps. Those receiving taxpayer handouts included the two criminal sons, both of their parents and, ultimately, Tamerlan's wife and child.
Tamerlan can be said to have financed his radicalization with welfare handouts from our taxpayers. Those were the years when Tamerlan became a more devout Muslim, gave up drinking in order to devote himself to "God's business" and sought out jihadist websites.
When accused of domestic violence against a girlfriend in 2009, he had the benefit of a taxpayer-funded attorney to get his case dismissed. Welfare was terminated only in 2012 when his wife's salary pushed their income outside of eligibility limits.
Why did our government ignore the federal law that requires immigrants, before they are admitted, to prove they will not become a public charge? For years, the sons did not have jobs or any visible source of income.
Meanwhile, Tamerlan's mother began wearing a hijab and telling conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Towers, which she said Tamerlan had told her. She was accused of shoplifting $1,500 worth of clothes from the upscale Lord and Taylor, but she flew back to Russia, so the judge issued a bench warrant for her arrest.
The government of Russia contacted our FBI and warned us that Tamerlan was a dangerous risk. The FBI investigated but reported there was no problem.
In 2012, Tamerlan left for a six-month visit in Russia and Dagestan. Where did Tamerlan get the money for that expensive airline ticket? Wasn't the FBI interested in where he went and who he saw, even after Russia told us that he joined "underground groups in Russia"?
What did Tamerlan do in Russia? Receive training in bomb-making, terrorist tactics or handling weapons? Did he attend a radical mosque? Were the brothers directed by foreign operatives?
One of the government's ridiculous excuses for not tracking Tamerlan's flight to Russia was that the airline misspelled his name on passenger list. The Obama administration is always blaming someone else for its own failures.
Apparently, the FBI wasn't interested in doing another investigation when Tamerlan returned from his trip. Russia then took its warning about Tamerlan to our Central Intelligence Agency but got no response there either.
Tamerlan's own web postings showed his sympathies with radical Islam, and in April 2013, Tamerlan's YouTube video account included a playlist celebrating "Terrorists." Because the FBI had closed his case, no one in our government was watching.
When the younger brother, Dzhokhar, was naturalized as a citizen. He would have been required to swear that he renounces "all allegiance" to any previous country and that "I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion." What did our naturalization bureaucrats do to assure that Dzhokhar was not using the Koran-authorized practice of taqiyya, i.e., tell a lie in order to advance Muslim objectives?
Why didn't our FBI recognize the signal that the older boy was named for one of the most brutal murderers in all history? The name Tamerlan is known throughout Asia as a 14th-century Muslim who called himself the "Sword of Islam" and murdered 17 million people, beheaded many and displayed their heads to showcase his brutality.
The Boston bombing requires us to stop thinking about new immigration legislation until we remedy our mistakes. The failure to protect us from the Tsarnaev brothers proves that there are so many things radically wrong with our legal immigration process.
Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system." Paul's letter cautioned, "National security protections must be rolled into comprehensive immigration reform" to prevent future acts of terror.
The failed FBI investigation of Tamerlan shows that our government does not have the capacity to do adequate background checks on 11 million illegal aliens. Amnesty may even facilitate terrorism. We need to take Ronald Reagan's advice: Before we do more of what we are doing, let's find out if what we are doing is part of the problem.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Phyllis Schlafly‘s column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.