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17 Toss Ups in the House – Part I (Colorado to Illinois)

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12092550 (posted Sep. 25, 2012)"




Colorado 6th: Mike Coffman* (R) vs. Joe Miklosi (D)

Many political analysts believe that the closeness of this race doesn't have much to do with Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi, but more to do with the new voter makeup of this district. This is the first time Coffman's seat has been threatened-this is his third run-and both national parties are both setting aside significant money to use on ad buys as the election draws closer. Independent polls place this election as a dead heat.

Mike Coffman campaign site
From his campaign site: "Comprehensive immigration reform must first begin with the comprehensive enforcement of our immigration laws. We must secure the borders of the United States now."

His statement on opposing the 2010 DREAM Act : "The Dream Act will be a nightmare for the American people. No doubt, we need immigration reform but the Dream Act is written far too broadly and it will only encourage more illegal immigration, promote chain migration, and will be a magnet for fraud."

His statement on Legal Workforce Act/E-Verify: "On June 14, 2011, Representative Lamar Smith introduced House Resolution 2164, the Legal Workforce Act, which would mandate the use of E-Verify for 99% of all hirings within two years. This piece of legislation is the culmination of years of debate, and represents the best chance of passing one of the most important initiatives in the immigration debate.

To be sure, it is not a perfect bill. I would have preferred stronger language. Nevertheless, only a handful of states have E-Verify laws that are even close to as stringent as this bill, and the states most likely to harbor illegal aliens will never adopt legislation that would root out illegal immigrants. Furthermore, the bill allows states the leeway to protect their own citizens against the harmful effects of illegal immigration."

Joe Miklosi campaign site
From a news article: "Miklosi told The Associated Press Wednesday that major differences between him and Coffman include support for a path to citizenship for students who are illegal immigrants. Miklosi co-sponsored an unsuccessful plan to allow immigrants in-state tuition in the state House last term and says he'd back similar legislation on a national level."

Florida 18th: Allen West* (R) vs. Patrick Murphy (D)

This race should turn out to be, if nothing else, one of the most interesting races to watch this election season. The newly drawn district gives Republicans a slim 2% majority, but these voters voted for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Governor Rick Scott two years ago, so there's room for both parties to make inroads. Rep. Allen West is one of only two black Republicans in Congress and is well known for his outspoken and often controversial statements, but he managed to stave off the Democratic challenger two years ago and hopes to do the same this time around. This battle is getting national attention, and relative newcomer Patrick Murphy-he's never held elected office-has been impressive in raising money from both within and outside of his district.

Allen West campaign site
From his campaign site: "Illegal immigration affects every aspect of our society. It impacts our unemployment and crime rates, burdens our educational and health care systems, and weakens national security.

Legal immigrants, who sought to assimilate into the American culture, helped build this country into the great nation it is today, but no nation, no matter how great, can survive with porous borders and uncontrolled immigration. As our enemies become emboldened to plan and commit acts of terrorism within our country, we must be able to identify not only who and how many are crossing our borders, but also how long they are staying.

I believe immigration policy should exist first and foremost to protect American citizens rather than accommodate foreigners and their families. We must have an immigration policy that addresses the realities we currently face, including those who are already here and those who wish to come. But our priority must be controlling our borders before any immigration policy can be seriously considered."

A video of a Newspaper Editorial Board meeting with a question on immigration: "Ok. I think that illegal immigration - the operative word is 'illegal'. It also says here in Article 1 Section 8 that you have to repel invasions. I think that anytime someone is coming across your border and they haven't been invited, that can be considered what the founding fathers wrote as an invasion into your country."

Patrick Murphy campaign site
From his campaign site: "Creating a fair path to citizenship while securing our borders. We must absolutely secure our borders. We have the technology and manpower to do a much better job than we are currently doing. Immigrants serve as an important part of our communities: living and working here, paying rent, buying food and groceries, and paying taxes. They contribute to the health of shop owners and cities throughout our nation.

I believe undocumented workers that have otherwise observed our laws should be given a reasonable path to legality. This is a policy that historically was supported by Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Obama - all of whom have proposed ideas as to how to accomplish this. I strongly support the DREAM act which opens a path of legality to students who have graduated from US high schools and attend college or join the military. Not only is this fair, it will provide our college system with greatly needed additional revenue and our military with a much needed infusion of eager and motivated soldiers.

My opponent's take on how to handle the immigration issue was to appoint a would-be Chief-of-Staff who believes that an undocumented worker who commits any crime should be hanged, and that law-abiding undocumented workers should be denied care at emergency rooms. In his view the child, pregnant woman, or the car accident victim should die without care. Needless to say, I wholeheartedly disagree."

Florida 26th: David Rivera* (R) vs. Joe Garcia (D)

Many in the Republican Party thought freshman David Rivera would have an easy road to re-election, but after controversy surrounding his use of campaign funds his Democratic opponent Joe Garcia has surged in the polls. This race is a rematch of the Congressional election two years ago and looks to be one of the most closely watched races in Florida, in addition to Senator Nelson's bid for reelection.

David Rivera campaign site
From his campaign site: "David believes that stopping illegal immigration starts by controlling our borders and strengthening existing penalties for people entering the country illegally. There are also many businesses that subsist on the work of illegal immigrants and David believes that the federal government must enact harsh penalties against employers that hire illegal immigrants."

David Rivera introduces Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status (STARS) Act. David Rivera introduces the Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act.

Joe Garcia campaign site
From a news article from the 2010 race: "Immigration reform is a serious issue that calls for immediate action," Garcia said. "We need our elected officials to show leadership, not hide and remain silent when difficult problems and issues arise. I have been proud to stand with supporters of immigration reform, march with them and let my position be known on a difficult issue. I am disappointed Rivera has chosen to be silent on immigration reform."

Illinois 11th: Judy Biggert* (R) vs. Bill Foster (D)

This race pits a current and former Congress member against each other to serve in this newly created district, but what makes it really unique is that their terms of service overlapped for two years from 2008 to 2010 meaning voters can compare votes on key pieces of legislation directly-bills like the 2010 version of the DREAM Act, a bill that Rep. Foster supported and Rep. Biggert voted against.

Judy Biggert campaign site
From her official Congressional site: "To effectively address the problem of illegal immigration, we first must secure our borders and improve our system of employment verification. In addition, we must eliminate sanctuary cities by clarifying that all state and local law enforcement officials already have existing, inherent authority to enforce immigration law. I also support making it harder for illegal immigrants to find employment in the United States by requiring all employers to use the E-Verify program of electronic worker verification. With between 12 and 13 million illegal immigrants in our country and another 550,000 entering the country every year, the United States must effectively enforce the laws already on the books before we even discuss other reform alternatives."

Bill Foster campaign site
News article on immigration from his 2010 race: "Foster supports the idea of some form of national ID card. He's interested in proposals regarding biometric Social Security cards for all citizens. "This is not a card that you have to carry," Foster said. "This is not Nazi Germany. But it is very reasonable that when an employer hires someone that, at some point, that person has to present high-quality legal verification that they are able to work here, either because they are legal citizens or part of a legal worker program. The details of that are going to be very, very tough to hammer out. Any final deal you have on this is going to leave lots of people unhappy. Ultimately you're going to have to make a decision and accept the heat on both sides."

Illinois 12th: Jason Plummer (R) vs. Bill Enyart (D)
This currently Democratic Southern Illinois district is really up for grabs after the Democratic front runner candidate dropped out of the race due to medical concerns. Polls conducted by both sides show very different stories and the outcome is anyone's guess.

Jason Plummer campaign site
From a Chicago Tribune candidate questionnaire "We cannot effectively address the immigration issue until we are able to secure our borders. While the number of illegal immigrants coming to the country has been on the decline due to the recession, they can be expected to return once the economy turns around. Securing our border must be the first step to solving the illegal immigration issue. The US must continue to be a beacon of hope for immigrants coming to America, and we should do everything to encourage legal immigration. I would not have voted for the DREAM Act."

Bill Enyart campaign site

Illinois 17th: Bobby Schilling* (R) vs. Cheri Bustos (D)

This is one of the closest races in the country as Rep. Schilling seeks to defend the seat he wrestled away from the Democrats two years ago (a Democrat had held the seat since 1983). With all eyes on this election national groups are pouring in money to the campaign, but the polls still stand at a dead heat.

Bobby Schilling campaign site

Cheri Bustos campaign site

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