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Latino Daily News

Saturday October 30, 2010

Vying for Obama’s Old Seat- Kirk and Giannoulias Differ on Immigration Reform

While both US Senate Candidates agree that there should be tougher border security, they do not agree on what to do with immigrants who are already in the country illegally.

Kirk says any immigration reform legislation must wait until after Congress secures the US-Mexico Border. Giannoulias wants to move forward with a broad plan for immigration reform to legalize immigrants across the country.

Illinois has an estimated 525,000 undocumented immigrants, the fifth highest in the nation. Illinois lawmakers have not considered any laws similar to Arizona SB 1070. Both Kirk and Giannoulias believe Arizona’s approach is wrong. Illinois voters appear to agree with a more moderate position to immigration. In a recent poll, 74% of those polled supported granting legal status if undocumented immigrants had a job and paid a fine.

After weeks of avoiding the question, Kirk said he would not back the DREAM Act, which would provide legal status to those brought to the U.S. illegally as children provided they serve in the military or attend two years of college. Giannoulias, Illinois’ state treasurer, supports the DREAM Act, believing that children should not be punished because of their parents.

Giannoulias says that his plan to legalize undocumented immigrants would not only help the tax rolls but would provide the leadership to face the issue head-on.

Illinois’s senate race has shaped into a very expensive, nasty down and dirty, race to the finish.