Laesch wants Oberweiss to withdraw ads

Published: 11/21/2007 12:19 AM

Democratic congressional candidate John Laesch on Tuesday called on GOP candidate Jim Oberweis to withdraw his "anti-immigrant" ad campaign.

Laesch was responding to Oberweis' latest campaign materials, one of which depicts a photo of a Swedish national on a biometric identification card that Oberweis highlighted last week as one facet of his border security plan. Oberweis said such ID cards should be mandated for all legal immigrant workers and students.

"These ads are designed to make people afraid by blaming immigrants and keeping people distracted from the real issues like stagnating wages, unfair trade agreements, out of control health care costs and the war in Iraq," Laesch said in a news conference outside World Relief's Aurora branch.

Oberweis, a conservative Republican and millionaire from Sugar Grove, sits on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Laesch, a union carpenter from Newark, a point Oberweis made in his response.

"No amount of political posturing by a liberal Democrat who's trying to score points in his own party's primary is going to change what needs to be done. … The only reason for Mr. Laesch's rant today is a cheap attempt to score political points by fear-mongering of his own," Oberweis said in a prepared statement.

Laesch also criticized one of his Democratic opponents, Bill Foster, who has proposed the creation of a national ID card for all workers. Such an ID card is an impractical "Big Brother solution," Laesch said.

In response, Foster's campaign spokesman issued a statement bashing Laesch for offering "no practical solutions on the issue of immigration."

Laesch contends that border security and immigration are separate issues. He advocates what he calls "a more humanitarian stance."

ID cards won't stop illegal immigrants, Laesch said. Fair trade policies and measures that protect workers' rights and ensure they're paid adequate wages will keep corporations from "outsourcing poverty," he added.