Yesterday our partners at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights organized a protest against the extreme anti-immigrant beliefs of Congressman Mark Kirk. Hundreds of immigrants and advocates rallied outside the City Club of Chicago, where Kirk was speaking, to protest his stances on immigration.Kirk is among those hard liners who spout the most vitriolic anti-immigrant rhetoric, scapegoating and targeting immigrants and Latinos.
Below are a few examples:
- He has claimed, on the House floor, that sending condoms to Mexico will curb immigration. [Reuters, 6/22/07]
- He has endorsed the idea of racial profiling (Chicago Tribune, 11/28/05; Chicago Tribune, 12/5/05; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/15/05]
- He blames the high number of uninsured on undocumented immigrants [Mark Kirk, Wheeling Township Republican Meeting, 5/12/08; “Understanding the Uninsured,” National Institute for Health Care Management, April 2008]
- He voted in favor of many anti-immigrant bills proposed in Congress, including the infamous Sensenbrenner bill (HR-4437) that would have made a criminal of priests, nuns, doctors, teachers, family members and anyone who has helped undocumented immigrants in their daily lives. [House Vote 661, 12/16/05, passed 239-182]
Rally participants distributed condoms tagged “Mark Kirk’s Immigration Solution” to draw attention to just how ridiculous Kirk’s stances are. They also placed a giant 10 foot rat in front of the banquet hall of the Chicago Club.
Participants urged Kirk to support just and humane immigration solutions and move away from his extreme positions, which do nothing to bring common sense to the immigration debat.
“Congressman Kirk’s hurtful rhetoric only fuels the politics of hate,” said Abel Nuñez, ICIRR leader and Associate Director of Centro Romero. “Our nation needs to address immigration reform with sensible, practical solutions that include a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented–not sending condoms to Mexico.”
Kirk’s positions, like many of the most outspoken immigration reform opponents, are not based in a realistic and sensible approach to the issue of immigration. Not only do his bigoted remarks add to the current xenophobic rhetoric that is being normalized by the extremists, it does absolutely nothing to offer solutions to the American public.
“Our nation must move beyond divisive rancor and address immigration reform with practical solutions that include a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented,” said Joshua Hoyt, ICIRR Executive Director. “We urge Congressman Kirk to support common sense legislation that brings stability and helps secure the future of our workers and their families.”