Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced that he does not “classify” illegal immigrants as criminals, although he admits “it’s obvious that they broke the laws and did things that were criminal and they shouldn’t.” This odd distinction came up at an August 2 immigration forum in Ames, Iowa. Harkin said, “I separate out people who came here illegally from people who are criminals… I’m just saying simply because they came here to work – to provide for their family. They’ve broken no laws other than coming here illegally. They’re here illegally – that’s true. And they need to go through all the hoops we put in the bill. But I just don’t classify them as criminals.”
Harkin is a supporter of the current Senate bill. He attended the event alongside Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the so-called Gang of Eight.