At Tuesday night's U.S. Senate debate, Republican nominee Mark Kirk
told the crowd that it's "not the time" to pass the DREAM Act, a stance
he took publicly in an interview a few weeks ago. Click through to watch the immigration
portion of the debate put together by the Huffington Post.
Following the debate, however, the Daily Herald got Kirk to admit
that the bill "needed more study." That seems to imply he wouldn't
support it at any time, a position immigration reform advocates abhor.
Next week, ** Illinois Immigrant Action will
hold a "week of actions" in response to Kirk's disclosure. Spokesperson
Catherine Salgado says the
organization has put in 64 calls to the congressman's office asking to
discuss the legislation, which would give upstanding undocumented
children a pathway to citizenship should they complete two years of
college or military service. The details of the events are still being
worked out, but she hinted that some will be conducted outside of
Kirk's campaign offices and will feature young people "who feel
strongly about defending the country they feel is theirs."
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and its allies, meanwhile, are also ramping up their voter outreach. Earlier this year, the organization registered
10,533 new voters in the immigrant community through its One Nation,
One Dream: Standing for Families campaign. They now have 12 fellows
working solely on GOTV efforts and have trained dozens of volunteers to
hit the streets in the coming weeks. Similarly, leaders of the Muslim community are hoping to mobilize
20,000 Muslim voters to turn out this cycle. "Immigrants want to show
their numbers can make a difference [in tight races]," Salgado says.
more that immigrant supporters make their voices heard, the less likely
it is that the General Assembly takes up draconian immigration
enforcement laws, as is favored by State Rep. Randy Ramey (R-Carol Stream). Yesterday, he told the Daily Herald he would introduce
an "Arizona-type immigration law" after next month's election. (For
more on the pitfalls of that approach, check out our post on the topic
** UPDATE (10/25): This post has been updated for clarity.