Roskam Should Put Needs for Real Solutions Before Personal Ambition Message to Republican Party: Real Leaders Lead, Not Hide!

June 12, 2014

Roskam Should Put Needs for Real Solutions Before Personal Ambition

Message to Republican Party:  Real Leaders Lead, Not Hide!

The following is a statement by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) on Congressman Peter Roskam’s possible run for House Majority Whip

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is dumbfounded that Congressman Peter Roskam is considering a move upward in US House leadership after he has failed to lead on issues that hurt everyday families in his district and throughout our state.  For the past year, community and faith leaders from his district and throughout our state have made numerous requests to meet with him, only to have the doors shut in their faces.  He has refused to meet or even entertain a conversation with our community and faith leaders on immigration reform.  Our message to the Republican Party is simple: select leaders who have the courage to lead on important issues, and not hide from his community and constituents as Representative Peter Roskam has.

Thousands of Illinois children are losing parents due to deportation each year.  Latino and Asian families are being destroyed while Republican leadership like Representative Roskam have been deaf to their pain and unwilling to offer any solutions.

Congressman Roskam represents a district with a growing immigrant population, but his actions continue to show his anti-immigrant nature.  In his first Congressional race in 2006, he circulated hateful immigrant-baiting flyers.  In 2010, he voted against the DREAM Act, which would give young people a path to citizenship after completing higher education or serving the military. Most recently, he voted to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives immigrant youths the opportunity to contribute to the U.S.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss was a clear indication that Americans are ready for real leadership and elected officials who take a stand on issues.  While Cantor lost, Republicans like Senator Lindsay Graham and Rep Renee Ellmers who have taken strong stances in support of immigration reform have won decisive victories.  Cantor failed to lead--he obstructed and obfuscated and lost.  The question is now clearer than ever: will Republicans continue to be held hostage by the extremists in their party, or will they have the courage to allow a vote on immigration reform and revive the American Dream?

“Our country needs real leaders who have the courage to take a strong stance on the hard issues that concern our families, not a power-hungry opportunist who can’t wait until the ink is dry to announce his career aspirations,” said ICIRR’s CEO Lawrence Benito.   “Representative Roskam has never demonstrated leadership, and if the Republican Party wants to continue to be a viable party it needs to start selecting real leaders, not individuals who evade their responsibility to our communities and to our nation.”'

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit