Oberweis Apologizes, Says He’s “Evolved” On Immigration

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Jim Oberweis

Jim Oberweis (Photo credit: Michael Kappel)

Standing before a packed audience at the Chicago Club, US Senate candidate Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) apologized for his previous position on immigration, and the way he campaigned for his “naive” position, and declared his views on the issue have “evolved.”

Early on, I spoke up forcibly on the need to secure our borders and bring immigration into this country under the rule of law,” Oberweis said at the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition event held on April 22.

“I regret the harsh tone of my rhetoric 10 years ago. But my principles remain intact.” Those principles include securing the border between the United States and Mexico and opposition to allowing adults who entered the United States illegally enter a “shortened path to citizenship,” but now include an apparent softening on immigration reform, a change Oberweis attributed to his evolution on the issue.

The dairy magnate turned State Senator now argues that immigrants already in the country should be offered non-immigrant visas, giving them a legal status to remain in the country but without the benefits citizens receive, as well as a path to citizenship for children who were brought to the country illegally. In 2004, Oberweis ran a controversial TV ad during his primary campaign for US Senate that depicted him flying over Soldier Field in a helicopter, stating that the number of people who cross the border illegally could fill Soldier Field every week. His opponent in this race, US Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Springfield) has called the ad one of the most divisive ads in Illinois history. Since then, Oberweis has called the ad a mistake.

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]

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