After the “nightmare” of getting elected on the same day Donald Trump won the presidency with a promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said Wednesday that she immediately got to work showing she stands “in solidarity and in partnership” with immigrants.
And the first-term prosecutor on Wednesday not only reminded immigrant rights groups and others in the Pilsen neighborhood of her opposition to Trump’s “racist and xenophobic” policies, but she also took aim at her unnamed primary opponents.
“Now, with six days left, there are people who are showing up in our communities claiming to advocate on behalf of all of us, and the question is where have you been?” she said.
Speaking at Cecina Grill on West 18th Street, Foxx argued she’s been in the community, on the front lines trying to protect the city’s immigrants.
Foxx said she worked with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to set up a hotline, hired an immigration policy adviser and increased the use of specialty visas to curb the impact of the Republican president on the county’s immigrant community.
Noting she’s drawn the “ire” of Trump and Attorney General William Barr, Foxx used that work in the community to paint herself as an advocate deserving of a second term for her work on immigration issues.
“It’s not a surprise that the president and the attorney general attack me publicly because I have said that their policies are racist and xenophobic, and I’ve said that we will not be a part of that, and I think it’s important to remind you we did that in 2017,” Foxx said.
“I didn’t just show up in this community and say that we stand in solidarity and in partnership with you. I did it from the very beginning of this administration.”
Before the politicking, Foxx enjoyed guacamole and tortilla chips, carne asada tacos and horchata with members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and others Wednesday afternoon, one of a few campaign stops as she enters the home stretch before next week’s primary.
She also worked the room — although Foxx, as well as Aldermen Bryon Sigcho Lopez (25th) and Michael Rodriguez (22nd), opted mostly for elbow bumps at the eight-person table.
Frank De Avila, who was in the room listening to Foxx and who challenged a claim by Rodriguez that crime is down, said Foxx needs to “admit more needs to be done about gun violence.”
“People are being let go easily,” De Avila said. “She’s letting criminals who have committed a crime go.”
Foxx faces stiff opposition in her bid for a second term in office.
Former prosecutors Bill Conway and Donna More and former 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti are challenging her in the Democratic Primary. And Republicans Pat O’Brien and Christopher Pfannkuche are running for their party’s nomination to replace her in the final showdown in November.
Foxx took shots at Conway, who’s seen as her chief rival in the race, saying that her reason for running for office wasn’t because “I want a notch on my belt, or I want a title or I feel entitled to it.”
“It’s because I hid in bathtubs hiding from gunfire, like many of the young people in our neighborhoods do, because I’m a survivor of abuse and I know what that feels like. I also know people who are needlessly caught up in our jail systems,” Foxx said. “My why is dramatically different and rooted in experience and Mr. Conway’s is a matter of convenience and opportunity, and we can’t afford that in Cook County.”
Conway spokeswoman Eliza Glezer said the former prosecutor is reaching out to all voters and is “beholden to no one, unlike Kim Foxx who puts the politically-connected before the people of Cook County.”
”While Kim Foxx is busy using campaign contributions bundled by indicted Alderman Ed Burke to try to cover up her Jussie Smollett scandal, Bill Conway is focused on visiting every corner of Cook County to speak with voters about how he will get politics out of an office where it never belonged,” she said.
Adourthus McDowell, a resident of the 25th Ward, was “encouraged” by what he heard in Foxx’s speech and plans to vote for the first-term state’s attorney.
“As far as African American and Hispanic males are concerned, there’s been a lot of exonerations under her,” McDowell said. “To have a woman of color in that office is important to the black community, to the immigrant community.”