Resolving the immigration debate is an economic reality, and a political one, according to Illinois business leaders. “You cannot assume you can eliminate 11 (million) or 12 million people out of our economy, our culture, our society – of any race, any nationality,” said Mike Evans, president of the Naperville Chamber of Commerce. “That would be a death blow.”
The co-chairman of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Dave Bender, is also chairman of the Republican Party in Logan County. He says without Latino support, the state’s Republican hopes are dim: “We have four very good candidates for governor,” he said. “I'm tired of getting our brains beat in on statewide campaigns.”
The leaders, on a coalition-arranged conference call for reporters, want the U.S. House of Representatives to take up the Senate-passed immigration bill or consider some other reasonable solution.
Just don't use the A-word. “I’m hesitant to call it amnesty, and I challenge when it is called amnesty,” said Omar Duque, president of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “When you use the word amnesty, you almost imply that we are forgiving something … (but, rather, in the Senate bill) the person has to earn their citizenship. It requires the paying of fees, it requires the paying of back taxes,” as part of what would, under the Senate bill, be a 13-year process toward citizenship.