CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Illinois' two top-ranking Republicans are denouncing the party's presidential frontrunner’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. They do, however, want to halt resettling Syrian refugees in Illinois at least temporarily.
Syrian refugees who are already in Illinois say the uproar's created new anxiety for them. On the one hand, Souad Ajjan says she's extremely grateful to have found a small apartment in Chicago. But she's now worried about what might come next.
“It hurts me so bad,” she said.
Ajjani says she feels fortunate to have escaped the fierce civil war in her homeland of Syria. She said many members of her Muslim family have been killed, and that surviving relatives there live in constant fear.
She also said Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States plays into the hands of Islamic State fanatics who claim Americans hate Islam and murder moderate Muslims who disagree.
“They killed seven members of my family. They killed all Muslims people in the area,” Ajjani said. “ISIS don't represent us.”
Syrian immigrants are now in the middle of Illinois’ U.S. Senate campaign. Republican incumbent Mark Kirk is attacking Democrat Tammy Duckworth for saying the U.S. could accept 200,000 refugees, including 100,000 from Syria, at a time when President Obama's Administration has committed to accepting only an initial group of 10,000.
A spokesman for Duckworth said Kirk's new attack ad against her takes her comment out of context, adding:
“Tammy Duckworth believes leadership comes through strength, not fear. Mark Kirk's worldview, on the other hand, is driven very much by fear and a willingness to compromise American values and to act how enemies like ISIS want us to act.”
Governor Bruce Rauner rejected Trump's proposed ban on Muslims' entering the United States. But, like Sen. Kirk, Rauner opposes resettling any new refugees until President Obama provides more information on each one. Rauner pointed to the massacres in Paris.
“What the Paris officials and the French officials have acknowledged is that the level of coordination and communication among their various groups was really inadequate. I believe we are inadequate in the United States in our level of communication and cooperation,” Rauner said.
Advocates for the refugees assert they are the most closely investigated and vetted group in history. Law enforcers, on the other hand, testified to Congress it would be impossible for them to guarantee absolutely that no Syrian immigrants will cause trouble once here.