In closed-door remarks delivered to a foreign bank, Hillary Clinton declared that her “dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”
This statement from one of Clinton’s private paid speeches was discovered in leaked emails of Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, which were made public by WikiLeaks.
One email, which provided partial transcripts of some of Clinton’s speeches, reads in part:
*Hillary Clinton Said Her Dream Is A Hemispheric Common Market, With Open Trade And Open Markets. *
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” [05162013 Remarks to Banco Itau.doc, p. 28]
In her remarks to Banco Itau, Clinton also denounced the idea of putting up barriers to global trade, a statement which will likely raise concerns with grassroots and working-class voters in her own party. “We have to resist protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade,” Clinton said.
Even though it has gone virtually unreported by corporate media, Breitbart News has extensively documented the Clintons’ longstanding support for “open borders.” Interestingly, as the Los Angeles Times observed in 2007, the Clinton’s praise for globalization and open borders frequently comes when they are speaking before a wealthy foreign audiences and donors.
In July 2007, Bill Clinton praised the benefits of “open borders” and “easy immigration” while delivering the keynote address at the 16th Telugu Association of North America (TANA) conference in Washington D.C. to a crowd of thousands of Indian Americans. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time, Clinton “drew applause at a conference of 14,000 Indian Americans in Washington as he extolled the benefits of ‘open borders, easy travel, easy immigration.’” It went on to report, “The same day, he headlined a fundraiser at the conference for his wife’s [failed 2008 presidential] campaign.”
In a 2003 speech delivered to Yale University, Bill Clinton called for the establishment of a “global community,” praised the “openness of our borders to immigrants,” and declared that America “has great obligations to open our borders.” Clinton said that he believes the formation a “genuine global community”—complete with an “over-arching system” to regulate it—to be “the great mission of the 21st century.”
The latest WikiLeaks revelation documenting Hillary Clinton’s explicit support for “open borders” may pose unique challenges to her campaign, as it means that for months, Clinton’s campaign has deliberately sought to mislead the American people about her position on immigration.
Clinton’s campaign website promoted material insisting that the “claim that Hillary Clinton supports open borders” is “false”– even though, by Clinton’s own admission, “open borders” is her “dream.”
Clinton’s new pushback against publicly labeling herself as for “open borders” while clearly championing open border policies is perhaps related to the fact that increasing immigration levels is not a popular policy. According to Pew, an overwhelming 83 percent of the American electorate overall would like to see immigration levels frozen or reduced.
Clinton’s newly revealed remarks are equally interesting in that they demonstrate corporate media’s failure to meaningfully examine or accurately report on Clinton’s immigration position.
Indeed, for months, while Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly made the case that his opponent supports open borders, many in the media have denounced Trump’s assertion as false—without providing any substantive evidence to counter his claim.
For instance, Politifact, the Associated Press, CNN, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post have all tried to argue that it’s not true that Clinton supports open borders. In doing so, these “fact checkers” have demonstrated that they either don’t know what “open borders” means, or they are deliberately parroting talking points provided by the Clinton campaign to cover up Clinton’s record on the issue.
Interestingly, these so-called “fact checks” rarely mention how many migrants would be imported into the country under a Hillary Clinton Presidency. While Bill Clinton has described our current immigration policy as one of “open borders,” his wife has championed policies that would open our borders even further.
- For example, the 2013 Gang of Eight bill Clinton supported would have tripled green card issuances—permanently resettling 33 million foreign nationals on green cards in the span of a single decade—and would have doubled foreign guest worker visas to compete for American jobs.
- The 2006 Ted Kennedy immigration plan Clinton supported would have more than doubled legal immigration by increasing the number of family-based and employment-based visas.
- Clinton’s refugee program, which she outlined in 2015, calls for a 550 percent increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted. If Clinton were to continue this policy throughout her presidency, the U.S. could potentially permanently resettle nearly one million Muslim migrants during the first term of her presidency alone—and all of their children born on American soil would be automatically awarded U.S. citizenship.
- The Center for Immigration Studies’ Steve Camarota has projected that, based on the minimal figures Clinton has put forth thus far, Clinton could add 10 million new immigrants to the U.S. during her first term alone – in addition to the 11 million illegal immigrants Clinton has said she plans to amnesty within her first 100 days in office.
Clinton’s primary rival Bernie Sanders has explained how “open borders” is a radical and fringe position supported by wealthy donors, which hurts working Americans. In a 2015 interview with Vox, Sanders denounced open borders as a “Koch brothers proposal” that would essentially amount to “doing away with the concept of a nation state.” Sanders said:
It would make everybody in America poorer—you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country.
By Sanders’ argument, by embracing open borders Clinton will “make everybody in America poorer” and has essentially adopted the view that there should be “no United States… [by] doing away with the concept of a nation state.”
This is precisely the concern of populist, nation-state conservatives like Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who made this very argument. In a USA Today op-ed from May of this year, in which he laid out the case for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, Sessions wrote, “For the first time in a long time, this November will give Americans a clear choice on perhaps the most important issue facing our country and our civilization: whether we remain a nation-state that serves its own people, or whether we slide irrevocably toward a soulless globalism that treats humans as interchangeable widgets in the world market.”