Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Jan Schakowsky, You’re Not Helping

By: Joan McCarthy Lasonde, Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress, Ninth Illinois Congressional District.

Congresswoman Schakowsky recently wrote urging the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s executive action to bar deportation of certain illegal aliens — primarily, those with children who are American citizens. As her opponent in November, I offer this response:

The issue should never have gone to court and risks setting a dangerous precedent. Congress should have done what Ms. Schakowsky wants the Court to do. It failed. For that, Ms. Schakowsky, too, not just reform opponents, bears plenty of responsibility. Here’s why:

President Obama turned to executive orders after Congress refused not only to prevent deportations that would break families apart, but on the bigger goals of a path to normalization — goals I share. Opposition came mostly from lawmakers in my party, Republicans, with whom I respectfully disagree.

But that opposition reflects rampant anger about illegal and unwise immigration, the same anger making the presidential election so divisive. And that anger derives mostly from the plain fact that our borders simply have not been enforced — thanks to legislators like Jan Schakowsky and the approach she takes.

Instead of working for serious border enforcement, Ms. Schakowsky has long done the opposite — supporting sanctuary cities, which overtly encourage illegal immigration and try to undermine cooperation with law enforcement. She has called for a special admission program for 100,000 Syrian refugees — ten times the number sought by President Obama.

Worse, Ms. Schakowsky is quick with charges of hatred and bigotry, recklessly directed, when immigration is in the air. Last month she led protesters at a dinner I attended, shown in the picture below, and that was exactly the language used.

What madness! Inside were most of the Republican Congressional delegation and Governor Rauner, all of whom support the comprehensive immigration reform she wants. In fact, the topic is a rare bipartisan triumph in Illinois with widespread support from churches, business people and immigration rights group. This is no way to build consensus.

With friends like Ms. Schakowsky, it’s no wonder emotions prevailed over reason to doom reform in Congress, leaving us now with a pending Supreme Court decision that should frighten all sides. If the administration wins, yes, inhumane deportations will stop, but a sweeping precedent may be set allowing presidents, under the guise of prosecutorial discretion, to pick and choose which laws to enforce. Would Ms. Schakowsky be happy with a precedent that allows, say, a Republican president who chooses to ignore environmental crimes or firearm laws? That’s why the Court, when the case was heard, asked fundamental questions about the president’s duty to faithfully execute the law.

I’m running for Congress in part because I believe its members should seize common ground where they find it, not scorch it with policy and words as inflammatory as Jan Schakowsky’s have been on immigration. That goes for my Republican colleagues, too. We will not round up illegal immigrants for deportation, most of whom we let in with a wink and a nod. I will work to pass humane, comprehensive immigration legislation, and for border enforcement that makes consensus on reform achievable.