State of Illinois Archives: on Immigration

Richard Durbin: Reform will increase coordination & reduce terrorism

Q: What are your questions about US intelligence agencies on the [Boston Marathon] bombing? Is there something that troubled you in particular?

DURBIN: Yes. I can tell you what troubles me. The current immigration system in America is broken down. We've got to change it. I've been sitting for more than three months with a bipartisan group of senators talking about making America safer. The immigration reform bill will make this a stronger nation, not just at the border with Mexico, and will strengthen that, but also that we need to track the visas coming into the United States, the visitor visas, the student visas, so that we know not only when they arrive but when they leave. That is not working today.

Q: Why isn't it working?

DURBIN: It's hard to believe 12 years after 9/11 we're having this conversation, but there is not enough coordination between these different agencies so that we know someone should not have been re-admitted to the US. Our bill addresses that directly.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Illinois Senate race May 5, 2013

Richard Durbin: Extend partner immigration rights to gay couples

Q: There is a push by the gay community that once the partner is in the U.S. or is an American citizen, that that right for a partner to immigrate needs to be expanded to same-sex couples.

DURBIN: I believe that it's consistent with the position we should have marriage equality, and therefore, recognize marriages between people from the same gender. Now, this is a hot issue. It's a contentious issue. If we can find a way through this to protect that basic right of an individual and still pass immigration reform, that's what I want to achieve.

Q: What about DOMA?

DURBIN: The Supreme Court has taken up DOMA [overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which would ensure equal immigration rights for gay couples]. And that decision on DOMA may preclude this whole conversation. They may help us reach the right place in this whole conversation.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Illinois Senate race May 5, 2013

Richard Durbin: Immigration reform bill makes America safer

I'll return tomorrow [to Congress] for the 2nd hearing on the new immigration reform bill. Let me put it in context. There are four specific provisions in this immigration reform bill that will make America safer. We are going to have a stronger border with Mexico. We are going to have 11 million people come forward and have an opportunity to register with our government, out of the shadows. We're going to have verification of employment in the work place. And we're finally going to have a system where we can track visa holders who visit the United States to make sure that they leave when they're supposed to. So this is part of the ongoing conversation about a safer America and the immigration reform bill moves us closer.

The worst thing we can do is nothing. If we do nothing, leaving 11 million people in the shadows, not making our border safer, not having the information that comes from employment and these visa holders, we will be less safe in America. Immigration reform will make us safer.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 on 2014 Illinois Senate race Apr 21, 2013

Richard Durbin: Our border with Mexico is strongest it's been in 40 years

Q: Could you accept temporary legal status for illegals before the border has actually been secured?

Sen. CORNYN (R-TX): So much of [immigration reform] is regaining the public's confidence that the federal government is actually doing its job. So, until that confidence is restored on the basis of what the legislation provides, I would have difficulty supporting it.

Sen. DURBIN (D-IL): Our border with Mexico is the safest and strongest it's been in 40 years. We have invested billions of dollars into border enforcement. We're putting more money into border enforcement than we're putting into the FBI and the Secret Service and ATF and DEA combined. If we don't meet all the goals that we've set in years to come, we'll put more in more investment there.

Q: Is the 90% border apprehension rate a goal or a trigger?

DURBIN: Well, I think it's both. We're committed to it. Every Republican at the table said we've got to start with border security. I think we've kept the faith on that issue.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013, on 2014 Illinois Senate race Apr 14, 2013

Alexi Giannoulias: Comprehensive reform with responsible path to citizenship

Our immigration system is broken. The number of undocumented workers continues to grow by about 500,000 per year, and the system that oversees the immigration process is weighed down by bureaucracy and lack of funding. The US needs comprehensive immigration reform that protects the rights of all workers and modernizes our legal immigration programs:
  • Alexi supports efforts to protect the integrity of our borders by adding personnel, infrastructure and technology at our ports and borders.
  • Most undocumented immigrants come to the US in search of employment. The federal government must increase its enforcement of existing immigration laws and hold accountable the companies that provide jobs for undocumented immigrants.
  • We should place th nation's 12 million undocumented immigrants on a responsible path to citizenship. Alexi supports a plan that requires undocumented workers to pay a fine for entering the country illegally, learn English, pay taxes and wait in line to become citizens. Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues" Dec 25, 2009

    Alexi Giannoulias: Don't punish immigrant kids; DREAM Act yes; REAL ID no

    Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues" Dec 25, 2009

    Cynthia McKinney: Illegal immigration shouldn’t be a labor policy

    McKinney answered questions from the crowd on issues including illegal immigration. She said she disagreed with the term “illegal immigration” and that the issue is a result of American economic, military and foreign policy. “Illegal immigration shouldn’t be a labor policy, just as war shouldn’t be an energy policy,” McKinney said.
    Source: Codell Rodriguez in The Southern Illinoisian Dec 8, 2007

    • The above quotations are from State of Illinois Politicians: Archives.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
    • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
    2016 Presidential contenders on Immigration:
    Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
    V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
    Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
    Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

    Amb.John Bolton(MD)
    Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
    Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
    Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
    Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
    Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
    Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
    Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
    Rep.Peter King(NY)
    Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
    Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
    Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
    Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
    Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
    Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
    Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
    Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
    2016 Third Party Candidates:
    Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
    Donald Trump(NY)
    Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
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    Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014