6th Congressional District candidates differ on fighting ISIS

Defeating the Islamic State won't be quick or easy, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam says, but it must be done.

“They are not the junior varsity,” Roskam said. “They are not on the run.”

The Wheaton Republican said the jihadist militant group is trying to carry out terror attacks here and overseas in “an aggressive attempt to destabilize us.”

“So we're unfortunately in this for the long game,” Roskam said. “And there's no quick, easy, snappy answers.”

Roskam's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 election for the 6th Congressional District seat — Amanda Howland of Lake Zurich — says the United States has been “dealing with ISIS all along” by killing its leaders.

She said authorities have done “a pretty good job” of preventing terrorists from getting into our country.

As long as we share information with our allies and law enforcement, Howland said, “we're going to be able to continue to keep an eye on what's coming in and out of the country.”

But Roskam, who has represented the district since 2007, said he is concerned about whether refugees are being properly vetted.

While the FBI is supposed to be signing off on the background checks, Roskam said, the challenge of vetting someone is very high.

“I question whether that's actually happening,” he said.

Howland said it takes a minimum of two years to vet a refugee coming into the U.S.

“The people who are coming are not terrorists,” said Howland, a College of Lake County trustee. “They are fleeing terrorism in their own country.

“They are looking for help here and asylum here.”

She said she's confident U.S. agencies are doing thorough background checks.

“We're not just letting people in willy-nilly,” she said.

In the meantime, the U.S. must work with its allies to find and isolate terrorist groups and shut down their operations, she said.

“The U.S. can't do it all alone,” Howland said.

“We have to have support from other countries.”

When asked if people on the no-fly list should be barred from getting guns, Roskam said he's concerned about someone being denied a constitutional right because he or she is on a list assembled by bureaucracies.

“There have been members of Congress that have been placed on these lists, and it's been very difficult for them to get off it when there is no process,” he said.

The 6th District includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

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