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Immigration Groups Protest Rep. Kirk’s Bid for Senate Seat

By Suada Kolovic and Julianna Parlock

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North Shore Congressman Mark Kirk announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Monday, July 20.  CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, and CAIR-Chicago interns joined the Illinois Coalition for Immigration and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) in a peaceful protest during the press conference held in Kenilworth. Kirk announced his bid outside his childhood home, in what is reportedly the wealthiest suburb in Illinois, and seemed unconcerned about being labeled the “candidate for the privileged.”

ICIRR protestors gathered to show their opposition to Kirk’s stances on issues regarding immigration and racial profiling. In 2005, Kirk stated that he was “Okay” with racial profiling directed at Arab males from “terrorist-producing states.” Kirk notably voted in favor of many anti-immigrant bills proposed in Congress, including the infamous Sensenbrenner bill (HR-4437), that would have made criminal felons of priests, nuns, doctors, teachers, and even family members who helped undocumented immigrants. He has also come under fire from immigrant rights groups after indicating that he supports family planning as a way to curb Mexican immigration to the United States.

Kirk spoke briefly about his intention to run for the United States Senate. ICIRR protestors gathered a few steps from the front lawn holding signs that read, “Strengthen American, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now!”

Rehab spoke to rally participants, as well as several media outlets on how Kirk should reexamine his relations with immigrant communities stating, “We think that the Latino communities and other immigrant communities will not vote for someone who does not have a solution for our broken immigration system.”

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