The two candidates for the 8th Congressional District disagree on many issues, not the least of which is immigration.
Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh of McHenry objects to "any kind" of amnesty for immigrants, while Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates supports President Obama's recent directive to halt the deportation of younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives.
The 8th Congressional District is roughly centered in Schaumburg and stretches from Addison to Elgin. According to census data, its population is 22 percent Latino, 12 percent Asian and 4 percent African American. Roughly 17 percent of the district's residents were born in other countries.
Walsh says he welcomes those who come here legally and can offer skills and services that are lacking in the United States.
For those who don't fit that description, he said, there's no need for new laws. "The Department of Justice needs to enforce those already on the books rather than picking and choosing which laws they want to enforce," Walsh said. Along with her support of the president's recent directive, Duckworth also supports the DREAM Act -- legislation championed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield that would provide young adults who entered the country illegally as children with a path to citizenship through higher education or military service. She says, overall, she favors a "difficult path" to citizenship.
"As more immigrant families move to this country, we need to protect those who follow the law," Duckworth said. "People who came here illegally should step forward, pay fines for violating our laws, pass a criminal background check, learn some English and pay their full share of taxes owed."
Walsh and Duckworth will debate at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows. The event is open to 8th District residents and will be broadcast live on WIND-560 AM radio.