Gov. Bruce Rauner
If Gov. Bruce Rauner turns Illinois into a so-called sanctuary state he will do more devastation to a conservative base that is already crumbling, host Dan Proft and callers to "Chicago's Morning Answer" radio show said recently.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The immigration bill Rauner is expected to sign on Monday would prohibit police in Illinois from detaining or arresting someone based on his immigration status.
Proft quoted Illinois Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) as saying that "if Rauner doesn’t veto the bill this could be the last straw for downstate voters who have backed the governor.”
“I think Rauner is in a bit of a trick bag here, and he is approaching it the wrong way,” Proft said. “He thinks [signing] will move him into a more moderate position, a more moderate brand. This is a major political mistake he is making; a major policy error in judgment.”
Callers to the radio program agreed that Rauner will compromise his conservative base by signing the immigration bill. Proft and cohost Amy Jacobson said that they Rauner will turn the bill into law to bring Democrats back into his political fold.
An overwhelming number of callers said they would not support the governor in his 2018 re-election bid.
“He just abandoned the base, and I just can’t get the energy to vote for him,” one caller said, while another suggested that Rauner “totally became a Democrat in my mind.”
According to Proft, 70 percent of the Illinois electorate is opposed to the immigration bill.
“It is pretty straightforward,” Proft said. "This a major mistake he's making."
Chicago Mayor Emanuel Rahm has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for imposing conditions on federal grant money going to sanctuary cities. Los Angeles recently followed suit.
“If and when Gov. Rauner signs the sanctuary state legislation as he is poised to do on Monday, according to the (Chicago) Tribune and other sources, it will be a national story, and it may draw the attention of the president of the United States, one Donald Trump, who was not shy about talking about it yesterday in Phoenix,” Proft said.
Trump held a rally on Tuesday at which he promised to crack down on sanctuary cities.
“How many votes does Gov. Rauner really think he is going to acquire by making this stupid move?” Jacobson said. “Even Democrats don’t want this idea. We want law and order. We want to follow the law of the land and not change the laws to acquire for the people who are here illegally who broke the law. It just doesn’t make sense.”
According to Proft, while the proposed immigration law might be a tough choice for politicians, it's an easy one for the general public.
“Go to any bar and pull up a stool next to the man or woman next to you and say, 'Hey, I got a brain teaser for you,” Proft said. “'If you’re law enforcement and you have, let’s say, a murderer in custody, should you keep that person in custody or should you release him?'”
Proft referred to the bill as a public safety issue that serves the “ruling class elite.”
The bipartisan bill was supported by both businesses and law enforcement.
“You have corporate interest that wants cheap labor,” Proft said. "And you have law enforcement that is being misrepresented. Does law enforcement want flexibility? Sure. Should they have it? Sure. If a house is on fire, you want a person who is in this country illegally who sees it to act as a good Samaritan and call 9-1-1 without fear that … then we’re going to check your immigration status. That’s a different thing.”