Arguably one of the most liberal Republican senators in Washington, D.C., Mark Kirk of Illinois, voted against bringing the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill to debate last week. Kirk is now facing a backlash from the Chicago media for his failure to comply with the left’s agenda. However, Kirk’s position on this issue has remained consistent since he was a candidate for office in 2010.
Kirk has held, that without border security first, we can not attain a truly successful reform.
The following statement was released on his official blog on June 12:
I support a two-step immigration reform that first secures our southern border and then creates a tough but fair path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the United States. I have always believed that is the recipe for bipartisan consensus on this issue. Once we restore the public’s trust in our government’s ability to control the border, we can move forward with other reforms.
That is why I was disappointed to hear the Majority Leader dismiss a constructive border security amendment set to be introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) as a “poison pill” before the text of the amendment had even been released. If requiring real border security with verifiable metrics and independent certifications is a “poison pill” for the Democratic leadership, then I fear we are setting a course for division and partisanship. My votes yesterday were a demonstration of this great disappointment.
Sen. Cornyn’s proposal would do exactly what proponents of the current legislation say they support – require border security first and then proceed with other reforms. The metrics are not unreasonable, the goals are not unobtainable and the amendment is not a “poison pill.” As we move forward with consideration of this bill, I urge Democratic leaders to rethink a strategy that castigates those who seek true immigration reform and also consider border security a top national security priority.
Rewind to a 2010 campaign interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board and Kirk’s opinion was the same:
Until the border with Mexico is secure, Republican Kirk said, he would not support any efforts to provide legal status to illegal immigrants. Kirk said he thinks the public’s first demand is that the U.S. government make the border less porous.
“The faith and trust of the American people in the administration of our border is broken. That has to be rebuilt,” Kirk told the Tribune’s editorial board. “If you don’t complete the first step, you will not be able to get to the second.”
Kirk has come under fire recently for his remarks suggesting the rounding up and imprisoning of as many as 18,000 “gangster deciples,” in Chicago’s poorer-black communities, paving the way for more criticism.
Predictably, ABC Chicago played the race card in thier coverage of Kirk’s vote this week, in their story, “Critics: Sen. Mark Kirk has “racial blind spot”:
“Is there something about Senator Kirk where he doesn’t respect minorities?” Ald. Danny Solis, 25th Ward, said.
“For a representative from the state of Illinois, this is unconscionable,” Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia said.
“Senator Kirk, re-assess your thinking. Do the right thing,” Illinois State Representative Lisa Hernandez, (D) Cicero, said.
Will Kirk hold to principles on this issue, or capitulate to the Democrats?
Kirk closed his statement regarding his vote against bringing the Senate bill to the floor for debate saying, “If the Cornyn amendment or something very close to it is adopted by the Senate, I will be proud to cast a yes vote on S. 744.“