Mark Kirk for Senate? Immigrants Support Unlikely
Kirk’s offensive remarks on immigration that are out of line with the American mainstream
- Kirk claimed in a speech on the floor of the House that sending birth control to Mexico is a solution to curb immigration. [Reuters, 6/22/07][Congressional Record, 6/21/07, H6884]
- Kirk endorsed the idea of racial profiling young Arabs. (Chicago Tribune, 11/28/05; Chicago Tribune, 12/5/05; Chicago Sun-Times, 12/15/05]
- Kirk blamed the nation’s crisis level numbers of medically uninsured on undocumented immigrants. [Mark Kirk, Wheeling Township Republican Meeting, 5/12/08; "Understanding the Uninsured," National Institute for Health Care Management, April 2008]
- Kirk has voted in favor of many anti-immigrant bills proposed in Congress, including the infamous Sensenbrenner bill (HR-4437), that would have made criminal felons of priests, nuns, doctors, teachers, and even family members who helped undocumented immigrants. [House Vote 661, 12/16/05, passed 239-182]
Does this record on immigration puts Congressman Kirk is out of step with the overwhelming majority of Americans? According to recent polling by the Benenson Strategy Group, more than 85% of U.S. voters support Congress passing a workable immigration reform. Republicans support his as well (see immigration polls)
How did Immigrant Voters React to Kirk’s Immigration Positions? What can we expect statewide?
- Kirk’s record of offensive anti-immigrant statements, inaccessibility to constituents, and hostile votes caused the immigrant voters of his own Congressional District to overwhelmingly reject his candidacy last November 2008.
- An exit poll of 1,653 voters conducted by Univision Radio News, the Asian American Institute, and ICIRR in found that 79% of the Latino voters and 58% of Asian voters in the 10th District cast their ballots for Kirk’s opponent, Democrat Dan Seals. (see full exit poll)
This is dangerous for Kirk when one considers the increasing political impact of immigrants in Illinois. According to the Illinois Immigrant Political Almanac, the immigrant voting bloc is growing rapidly (read almanac).
- The number of foreign-born citizens in Illinois grew by 175,000 (30%) since 2000. This compares to growth among native-born citizens of only 200,000 (2.5%).
- Out of more than 8 million registered voters in Illinois, 556,468 (6.9%) are Latino and 135,626 (1.7%) are Asian American.
- In metro Chicago (home to 61% of all Illinois registered voters), Latinos make up 10.2% of registered voters, and Asians make up 2.4%. This compares with Kirk's own district, where Latinos are 5.9% of registered voters but Asians are 4.2%.
Also consider this. The last time a republican won for Senate was in 1998 with Fitzgerald beating Mosley-Braun with 50.3% of the vote (according to state board of elections website). No candidate can afford to alienate an increasing Latino and Immigrant vote.