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*** UPDATED x1 *** Duckworth campaign tries to undermine Kirk immigration event

Wednesday, Aug 10, 2016 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Progress Illinois

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL,10) are among the elected officials scheduled to attend a Wednesday morning roundtable discussion in Chicago on “commonsense” immigration reform.

Speakers at the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition’s discussion “will be coming together to discuss best practices for engaging bipartisan members of Congress to pass sensible reform that expands visas for high and low skilled workers and agricultural workers, and creates a path to citizenship for undocumented workers,” according to an announcement.

Also expected to attend the event are U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL,25), Illinois State Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and various business leaders.

“The elected officials speaking in the roundtable discussion are part of a growing group of conservative voices who favor reform over walls and are calling for commonsense immigration legislation in 2017, which would reduce the federal deficit by nearly $900 billion and would strengthen Social Security by $700 billion,” the announcement reads.

This is the same group which got a law enacted recently to provide health insurance coverage for 41,000 undocumented children. It is bipartisan in more than name only.

* But not everybody is happy about this development, including Congresscritter Luis Gutierrez

I want my U.S. Senators in Illinois to be consistent allies for immigrants and fighters for immigration reform. I want them to be in touch with the concerns of the Latino community and the city of Chicago. I don’t want them to oppose immigrant rights on principle and occasionally flip-flop when it’s politically convenient. And I sure don’t want them to frequently embarrass the state of Illinois by making Trump-like offensive comments, especially about immigrants and Latinos. That’s why I’m voting for Democrat Tammy Duckworth for U.S. Senate this November and I urge everyone reading this to do the same.

For the last four years, I have served in the U.S. House of Representatives with Tammy and she’s been at my side, fighting for immigration reform. Republican Mark Kirk, on the other hand, has been nowhere to be found — until recently when he started running for re-election. Suddenly he wants to claim the mantle of immigration reform. Kirk’s decision to start talking about immigration reform may be politically convenient but it lacks political conviction.

That rant, which goes on for quite a while, was forwarded to me three times today by the Duckworth campaign, along with statements Kirk has made and votes he’s taken on this issue that aren’t exactly in line with today’s event.

So, yeah, he hasn’t always been a loyal ally. And, yes, it’s an election year. But the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition is a legit group, not some partisan front. It has proven its bonafides by working diligently with both sides of the aisle.

Let it go.

*** UPDATE *** Back in 2006, candidate Duckworth was all fired up in a Daily Herald interview about adding thousands more border patrol agents and being against “amnesty” and requiring immigrants to learn English

Q. List the three or four most important elements of your preferred immigration reform and explain what objectives they would achieve.

Duckworth. In any immigration reform, protecting our borders must be the top priority. In an era of global terrorism, it is unconscionable that the federal government has failed to address the millions of people who continue to enter the U.S. illegally. I would start by adding 12,000 new Border Patrol agents to the current force. We also need Congress to pass a comprehensive reform of our immigration system.

The proposal that I support does not provide amnesty. Instead, it requires illegal immigrants to pay fines, undergo criminal background checks, and pay all back taxes. Immigrants would be compelled to learn English and take courses in American culture and civics. If - and only if - an immigrant meets all of those requirements while continuing to be gainfully employed, he or she would be allowed to pursue legal status. Even then, these applicants would have to go to the back of the line.


  1. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 1:44 pm:

    Expect hyperbolic statement from the Duckworth campaign in…3…2…

  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 1:55 pm:

    Any possibility of Kirk showing interest on a very legitimate topic stars the grenades lobbing his way. He is very late to the table, but he’s there (in body). Why not go with that? She is a poor candidAte and would get trounced if there was a decent R candidate - but that is a dream in illinois all around

  3. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 1:57 pm:

    Seems to me Kirk is taking a mainstream, cooperative approach on this, which I would encourage. For my part, I think a reasonable path to citizenship with enforcement for those who choose not to get on the path is the way to go. I reject the “build a wall” and throw em all out hyperbole from Trump, et al., but at the same time reject the apparent call to throw the doors open and offer blanket amnesty without consequences that Rep. Gutierrez has seemed to advocate all these years.

  4. - Responsa - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    Well, it’s certainly Tammy’s call to decide if she thinks publicizing the endorsement of bombastic Luis G. is a net benefit or detriment to her statewide senatorial campaign.

  5. - People Over Parties - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    I feel like these criticisms by the Duckworth camp and allies… very small and hyperbolic… are doing damage to their credibility. Kirk is showing concern on an issue, but they attack him as not being loyal enough and exaggerate the heck out of it. It’s becoming a pattern with their campaign.

  6. - Belle - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:12 pm:

    Agree with Responsa. Gutierrez is not my fav politician, his endorsement doesn’t mean anything to me. And, he used to be my Congressman.
    But, I can imagine that it could help get Duckworth support in the Latino community

  7. - appearances - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:13 pm:

    Kirk and his campaign staffers have been hitting up a lot of social interest groups lately, mostly just offering vague talking points and then requesting heavy press for their efforts. I’d be very surprised to see Kirk remain engaged on these issues if he wins reelection, based on how shallow his current outreach offensive appears.

  8. - John Charles Fremont - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Congresswoman Duckworth and her aides have been incredibly willing to spread the ‘truth’ very, very thin in this campaign. She has also been willing to use hyperbole. Senator Kirk is working in a bipartisan matter as he has his entire career. yes it’s an election year, but I doubt that makes a difference to all the immigrants who will benefit from Senator Kirk and the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition’s hard work in 2016 and moving forward. Hard work is hard work.

  9. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:23 pm:

    The Duckworth over the top vitriolic response to Kirk continues to her detriment.

    Watch Kirk win this thing. She’ll have no one to blame but herself.

  10. - All Knowing Oz - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    Gee, Let’s think of more ways to reward lawbreakers. Enforce existing laws!!!

  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:35 pm:

    Looks like Trump modeled his talking points outline from 2006 Tammy Duckworth

  12. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    If you really want immigration reform, Kirk is more valuable to you than Duckworth. You will always have Tammy’s vote, but that is all you get.

    Kirk may help shape a compromise that can actually pass the Senate and the House. He is worth more than one vote.

    I expect Trump to have a massive failure. He represents the high water mark for the Nativist American movement. They will not hijack the Republican party again.

  13. - Terrible Towel - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:38 pm:

    This is a turn the campaign shouldn’t have made in my honest opinion. It’s hard (for Duckworth) to run for a seat in a right leaning district and then try to run in a centrist (maybe left leaning?) state in the age of youtube and facebook. No one will forget!

  14. - Federalist - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    “The proposal that I support does not provide amnesty. Instead, it requires illegal immigrants to pay fines, undergo criminal background checks, and pay all back taxes. Immigrants would be compelled to learn English and take courses in American culture and civics. If - and only if - an immigrant meets all of those requirements while continuing to be gainfully employed, he or she would be allowed to pursue legal status.”

    One of the more salient definitions of Amnesty is “the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals”

    The denial that the above does not constitute amnesty is a real strain on credulity.

    I fully remember the 1986 Amnesty which as many said at the time was a lie and a farce. They were correct. The one thing you can say is that the political elites of both parties have done everything they can to subvert the laws on illegal immigration and neuter the 1986 law.

  15. - Kingsley - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    kirk supported the immigration reform bill in 2013. 3 years ago. hardly an opportunist.

  16. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:43 pm:

    Wow, that update is quite a change of course over the past decade. Even using the magic bad phrase “illegal immigrants” for which many conservatives on the issue are pilloried.

  17. - Carolina - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    A little too much hyperbole from the Duckworth camp. This isn’t a group that merits accusations of partisanship, as Rich rightfully pointed out. To the update-that will be tough to explain in a statewide race. I know she ran in a centrist district 10 years ago, but that’s a tough statement to explain while also accusing Kirk of hypocrisy.

  18. - Skirmisher - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    Thought well of Duckworth initially but less and less the more I see of her. Hope Kirk can make it but the cards are not in his favor.

  19. - slow down - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    If you care about immigration reform, I don’t know how you can support politicians like Mark Kirk and Bob Dold knowing that they will empower Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan who are the very people standing in the way of actual reform. Kirk and Dold can talk all they want about their moderate views but if we continue to have a Republican Senate and Republican house, we all know that means there won’t be reform.

  20. - Red Ranger - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    2016 Tammy would call 2006 Tammy a anti-immigrant racist

  21. - Terrible Towel - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    Slow Down —

    TD’s first vote was for Pelosi and will potentially be for Schumer. They had control of both houses and a Dem president from 08 to 10. Where was the immigration form then?

    Not saying obstruction isn’t often found within the beltway, but pointing fingers isn’t a viable option in your situation.

  22. - Armchair CM - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    Wow, shocked about that Duckworth statement. The Kirk campaign should use that to portray her as a flip flopper. It’s hard for Duckworth to hit Kirk too hard on immigration because he frankly isn’t that far right on that issue, but they could’ve portrayed Duckworth as a true believer and friend of immigrants. With that statement out it will be harder to do that

  23. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 3:12 pm:

    Who is running the Duckworth campaign?

    They should be exposing Mark Kirk’s foolishness on his everchanging positions on who he supports for president. Like him saying today he can’t support Hillary because of the Iran deal so he’ll write in Colin Powell… who supports the Iran deal.

  24. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    Tammy - you are holding the winning cards in this high stakes game. Be careful and respectful, but don’t take the bait, don’t be reactive and don’t “feed the trolls”.

    Hoping your campaign can get its act together and not start appearing either overly confident or overly condescending.

    People are starting to pay attention - and we are still 90 days to the General Election.

  25. - Touré's Latte - Wednesday, Aug 10, 16 @ 4:08 pm:

    Kirk’s track record makes MOR D’s like me comfortable. Duckworth is background noise reminding me every campaign needs a deft manager. I honor her service, but same goes for Kirk.

    It would be amusing to see the State’s GOP pariah be one of the few winners at the federal level.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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