Gov. Bruce Rauner and challenger J.B. Pritzker clashed over immigration and Chicago violence Tuesday, with the Republican chief executive alleging that immigrants living illegally in the state are a factor in the city’s crime problem while the Democrat said they contribute to Illinois’ economy. […]
“Illegal immigration takes jobs away from Americans. It holds down wages, hurts union workers, farmworkers, factory workers, hurts wages and raises unemployment,” Rauner said.
“One of the reasons we have such high unemployment in the city of Chicago and so much crime is the massive number of illegal immigrants here take jobs away from American citizens and Chicago citizens,” he contended, adding that Pritzker wants to make Illinois a “sanctuary state.”
But Pritzker said the state needed someone to stand up against President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigrants entering and living in the country illegally. “They are good for the economy of the state of Illinois,” he said.
Video clip is here.
* Rauner was asked by reporters after the Sun-Times editorial board event to clarify his connection of illegal immigration to Chicago’s crime issue…
Reporter: Governor can we clarify what you said about illegal immigrants? It sounded like you were saying that illegal immigrants are the cause of crime in Chicago. What proof do you have of that and why would you say that?
Rauner: Unemployment, unemployment and low wages are part of contributing to crime in Chicago. There’s a lack of economic opportunity. How does illegal immigration relate to that? Illegal immigration, large scale illegal immigration, holds down wages and takes jobs that would otherwise be available for American citizens, Chicago citizens, takes them for illegal immigrants. That’s the connection. It’s about lack of economic opportunity.
Reporter: How many Chicagoans want the types of jobs that illegal immigrants are doing, though? Whether it’s a landscaping job or something else that’s being paid cash on the side. How many Chicagoans really want those jobs?
Rauner: Chicagoans want to work. You ask someone in Lawndale, Austin, Englewood whether they want to work. They do. They’re looking for jobs. Those jobs in too many cases are being filled by illegal immigrants. That’s wrong. I support legal immigration. Legal immigration is good and America is built by legal immigrats. But illegal immigration, we have immigration laws for a reason, and Mr. Pritzker has been very clear he says there’s no one here illegally. There’s no such thing as an ‘illegal person.’ That’s just not true. And he said specifically that he supports sanctuary cities and making Illinois a sanctuary state. I do not. We have immigration laws. They should be enforced. And the lack of economic opportunity on the South Side and West Side is a major driver of the violence there and we’ve got to fix that.
* Pritzker campaign…
“At today’s editorial board, Bruce Rauner blamed immigrants for crime in Chicago, demonizing entire communities with a vicious attack that may as well have come directly from Donald Trump’s mouth,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “This is divisive and shameful rhetoric from a failed governor who time and again has stood in the way of investing in communities and passing commonsense gun safety legislation to keep families safe.”
…Adding… I forgot about this Sun-Times story from the weekend about illegal immigrants who work in Chinese restaurants in Chicago…
But since he started working at eateries three years ago, he said he has shuffled between Asian restaurants all over the Midwest, putting in 12- or 13-hour days, six days a week, for pay that works out to a few dollars an hour. The men say they get virtually no breaks and are often treated poorly, put up in substandard housing. […]
The lawsuit claimed the agencies and their restaurant clients “collectively set the wages for each Latino worker referred as low as $3.50 an hour, well below the $8.25 minimum wage in Illinois.” The employees work 12-15 hours a day, six days a week with “no bona fide meal breaks.”