On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton vowed to go even further than President Barack Obama on enacting executive amnesty programs and went all-in on supporting full citizenship for illegal immigrants, proclaiming that anything less than that would confer “second-class status” on illegal immigrants.
At a roundtable event at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, Clinton said that “we can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship.”
“This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side,” she said. “Make no mistakes. Today not a single Republican candidate announced or potential is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one.”
Clinton then said, “when they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status.”
She also declared that “if Congress continues to refuse to act, as President, I would do everything possible under the law to go even further.”
“There are more people like many parents of DREAMers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities who deserve a chance to stay, and I will fight for them,” she continued, specifically referring to illegal immigrants who do not have children who are U.S. citizens. Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) executive amnesty only covers illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and excludes those who do not have children who are U.S. citizens.
Clinton said that “the law currently allows for sympathetic cases to be reviewed, but right now most of these cases have no way to get a real hearing; therefore, we should put in place a simple, straightforward, accessible way for parents of DREAMers and others with a history of service and contribution to their communities to make their case and to be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.”
“But that’s just the beginning,” she said.
Clinton called for expanding and enhancing “protections for families and communities” and reforms to “immigration enforcement and detention practices so they’re more humane, targeted, and more effective.” She also vowed to “fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship for you and your families across our country” and to “fight to stop partisan attacks on executive actions that would put DREAMers at risk” of deportation.
She then told a story about babysitting the small children of migrant workers when she was 12 years of age through her church. Clinton said when the bus stopped at the camp to let off the parents and brothers and sisters of the kids she was babysitting, the little kids started running down a dirt path to see their parents and brothers and sisters and were “scooped up by these really, really tired people.” She said, “I just watched this and thought, ‘They’re just like me and my brothers…when my dad comes from work and we go out there and see him after he’s come back from his day of doing what he has to do to support us.'”
Clinton is making a concerted effort to win the trust of pro-amnesty advocates who have been skeptical of her on immigration.
After her 2008 campaign arguably started to derail when she tried to have it both ways on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, Clinton’s campaign recently told the Huffington Post that “Hillary supports state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.” During last summer’s border crisis, Clinton angered pro-amnesty advocates when she said the illegal immigrant juveniles “should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are.”
After she dodged questions from DREAMers who confronted her at two events last summer, Clinton Tweeted her support of Obama’s executive amnesty and released a lengthy and lawyerly statement that amnesty advocates felt did not go far enough in expressing her full-throated support for Obama’s executive amnesty programs.
When Obama announced his most recent executive amnesty program last November, Clinton released the following statement shortly after her Tweet:
I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we’re not discussing abstract statistics—we’re talking about real families with real experiences. We’re talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.