(Aurora, Illinois) – State Senator Chris Lauzen today released his balanced plan for enforcement and reform of federal immigration laws. Lauzen, who is vying to succeed former Rep. J. Dennis Hastert in the 14th Congressional District, emphasized his experience as a leader on immigration reform and called for a respectful debate on this issue in the campaign leading up to the February election.
“It is clear to me, as it has been for many years, that citizens in our District have serious concerns over the costs and threats posed by uncontrolled illegal immigration and the lack of border security,” said Lauzen. “While other candidates may offer tough talk on this issue, I have an actual record of leadership and am best positioned to speak as an effective advocate in Washington when the next Congress convenes.”
In releasing his position paper, Lauzen emphasized that, several years ago, he spoke out forcefully against two issues now receiving widespread debate in national politics, driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and tuition discounts to children of illegal immigrants. “In 2003, the Illinois Senate was confronted with these two issues which have generated intense interest in both the Democratic and Republican presidential debates,” Lauzen noted. “When the issue of granting tuition discounts came up, I was the only Senator to vote ‘no’, and I took my plea to the Senate floor.” Lauzen further discussed his stand against providing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. “To me, this was a common-sense measure, and we effectively stopped the law from being passed – by just one vote. As we have seen recently, governors across the United States have been forced to retreat because the overwhelming majority of the public now seems to support my position from several years back.”
Lauzen’s plan for reform and enforcement of illegal immigration laws differs markedly from that of his principal opponent in the GOP primary, dairy tycoon Jim Oberweis. “Mr. Oberweis and I will certainly be able to agree on a number of measures on this challenging issue, such as our opposition to amnesty, but I am mystified by the lack of effective leadership in his Plan to Secure America,” Lauzen stated. “In particular, I think his plan has at least three significant shortcomings. First, he has not identified any legislation that he would support which could lead to immediate reform in terms of border security and enforcement of the laws. I have. The next Congress is going to take a hard look at the Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (HR 4088), and I intend to support it. I realize this legislation needs work and I may not agree with every last detail of it, but we need to do something that enables employers to verify the status of their employees, and we must enact legislation that focuses on enforcement. Tough talk without specific legislative proposals will merely lead to fracturing our country even further. I want to accomplish something that is meaningful and has support from conservative Democrats and Republicans, and the SAVE Act does just this.” The SAVE Act, introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), enjoys the support of 44 Democrats and 41 Republicans.
Lauzen further noted that Oberweis has not articulated his position on sanctuary cities. “The power of the purse-string is pretty effective, and Congress has wielded this power to great effect in the past. My position is simple: no discretionary funding to sanctuary cities that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants. That is one sure way to see real, tangible reform.”
Finally, Lauzen indicated that Oberweis’ insistence on a structural border fence seems to exclude a more efficient and sensible measure. “I agree with those members of Congress who advocate that we need to marshal our efforts to craft a plan for security along the Southern border. My concern is pragmatic. How long will it take to build the fence? What do governors of borders states have to say? Will a strictly structural fence be most effective? How will a structural-only fence appeal to U.S. citizens and to our neighbors around the world when we hold ourselves out as the preeminent symbol of enduring freedom and democracy? I think we need to have a thorough and vigorous debate over the merits of a virtual fence for portions of the boundary, an idea even Rudy Giuliani supports, using state-of-the-art technology. Combined with building new detention centers, deputizing local and state officials and making sure we have the proper training in place, I really think we may be onto something that can get done quickly and effectively in the most constructive way.”
Lauzen also reiterated that he intends to have an engaged and respectful discourse on immigration issues throughout the campaign. “We won’t be jumping in a helicopter to advertise our plan, and we certainly won’t talk about immigration in a way that inflames the passions of those citizens who have disagreements with us. Unfortunately, Mr. Oberweis’ past rhetoric and divisive conduct disqualify him as a nominee who can achieve something meaningful on immigration. I intend to work with my Democratic colleagues and get sensible, but thorough, legislation passed in Congress. Immigration enforcement and reform are critical issues for this country right now, and my record of leadership will enable me to serve this District effectively.”
Lauzen’s full position paper on illegal immigration may be found by clicking here: Illegal Immigration: Secure Our Borders, Oppose Amnesty, and Cut Funding for Sanctuary Cities