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Sen. Dick Durbin Encouraged by Early Voting, Denounces Trump Immigration Claims

Sen. Dick Durbin speaks to reporters outside a Sangamon County polling place on Oct. 31
Sam Dunklau
NPR Illinois 91.9 FM
Sen. Dick Durbin speaks to reporters outside a Sangamon County polling place on Oct. 31

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin was in Springfield today (WED), casting his ballot in the 2018 Election. He says he's encouraged by early voting tallies in Illinois so far, and that immigration is now among the chief issues thanks to President Trump.

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Durbin denounced the President’s actions in recent days, after Trump said he’s considering ending birthright citizenship by executive order. The President also sent about 5,000 troops to the US-Mexico border in response to a migrant caravan traveling north through Mexico.

“You can’t solve the immigration challenges of America with a temper tantrum and tweets," Durbin said. "You’ve got to sit down and work out changes in the law on a bipartisan basis. This president refused.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has refuted those claims, saying Democrats themselves have been obstacles to immigration reform and forced the President’s hand.

Durbin says he does believe in border security, though, and that anyone who’s in the country illegally and is “dangerous” should be deported immediately.

The senator made the comments shortly after he cast his ballot at the Sangamon County Complex in Springfield. Though Election Day 2018 is still a few days away, early voting ballots continue to stream into Illinois election authorities.

So far, nearly 750,000 voters statewde have cast their ballots, whether by mail or in-person. Durbin believes voters are so far turning out as much as in presidential years.

“This, since President Trump’s election, has been one of the most vocal periods of time I can remember, on both sides, Democrats and Republicans," he said. "So I’m not surprised that the turnout’s high.”

Though early voting numbers are up, it could be a while before total turnout is known. The state allows mail in ballots to be counted up to two weeks after Election Day.

Illinois voter registrations, however, are up significantly. Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board of Elections says about half a million more people are registered this year than in the last midterm election in 2014.

Copyright 2018 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.