By Nancy Thorner and Mark Weyermuller -
On Wednesday the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition hosted a discussion about immigration reform at the Chicago Club.
Republican leaders shared their support for reform, including former U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert, former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, State Senator Christine Radogno, State Representative Jim Durkin, State Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka, State Rep. Tom Cross, State Senator Jim Oberweis, and ILGOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
Outside, a group opposing amnesty, protested the meeting.
One of the protesters was radio personality Joe Walsh, who criticized the event at "that fancy club across the street," saying those who would be speaking are the "elite who were trying to push down all of our throat amnesty for illegals.”
"There are far too many elitists inside the Republican Party," Walsh shouted into a bullhorn. Democrats are pushing for the legalization of 16-22 million illegal immigrants because 'they are their voters,'" Walsh said.
Inside the Club, both Jim Oberweis and Bruce Rauner spoke of being "pro-reform," yet hedged on specifics.
With Chicago Police on hand, Rosanna Pulido of the Illinois Minuteman Project - who was an avid fan of Jim Oberweis in 2002 - urged protesters to stand up for American jobs. Other speakers included Rick Belsada of the Chicago Minutemen Project, Susan Tully as National Field Director of FAIR, David A. Dewar of RestoreAmericanLiberty.com.
Ms. Pulido indicated how outrageous it was for Republican millionaires and corporate CEOs to be lobbying for amnesty to give work visas to illegal aliens when Chicago-area unemployment stood at 9 percent and twenty million Americans could not find a job. "We do not need more workers with such a dismal unemployment rate? What we need is for Republican candidates to support the Republican platform!" Pulido said.
Joe Walsh, a former U.S. congressman in the 10th District defeated by Tammy Duckworth in 2012, remarked Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is pushing for amnesty, in contrast to grassroots America. Walsh warned Boehner not to "sell us down the river" like the Democrats have.
Said Walsh: "If elected politicians don't stand up for the rule of law what good are they?" Walsh believes "in his bones" that should amnesty be granted, a third party will be formed the day after.
Paul McKinley, an African American that lost the election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr, remarked that Chicago is "the Murder Capitol of the World" and as a "Sanctuary City." "If we break the law we go to jail; for illegals there is no jail time," McKinley said.
Others attending the protest were 9th CD candidate David Earl Williams III, Carl Segvich, GOP Illinois' David Diersen, and talk show host Bill Kelly.