Flashback: Hillary Clinton’s Longtime Support for Sanctuary Cities

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton now says cities should comply with federal immigration requests, she has been a supporter of sanctuary city policies in the past.

In 2007 at a Democratic debate in New Hampshire Clinton expressed support for sanctuary city policies:

NBC’S Tim Russert: “Senator Clinton, would you allow the sanctuary cities to exist?”

Clinton: Well, in addition to the general points that have been made, that I agree with, why do they have sanctuary cities? In large measure because if local law enforcement begins to act like immigration enforcement officers, what that means is that you will have people not reporting crimes. You will have people hiding from the police. And I think that is a real direct threat to the personal safety and security of all the citizens. So this is a result of the failure of the federal government, and that’s where it needs to be fixed.

Russert: But you would allow the sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law.

Clinton: “Well, I don’t think there is any choice. The ICE groups go in and raid individuals, but if you’re a local police chief and you’re trying to solve a crime that you know people from the immigrant community have information about, they may not talk to you if they think you’re also going to be enforcing the immigration laws. Local law enforcement has a different job than federal immigration enforcement. The problem is the federal government has totally abdicated its responsibility.”

During an interview with Bill O’Reilly in 2008, highlighted this week by MRCTV, Clinton was equally on board with the idea of sanctuary policies:

O’Reilly: Are you going to crack down on the sanctuary cities?

Clinton: No, I’m not. And I’ll tell you why.

O’Reilly: Whoa.

Clinton: I’m not, I’m not because the reason why a lot of those folks do it — in New York, why do police officers turn a blind eye?

O’Reilly: Because they want them to report crimes.

Clinton: They want them to report crimes. Because…

O’Reilly: Doesn’t override.

Clinton: …the — well, sometimes you have two competing values. You want to report crime, you want to protect people and the violence spills way beyond whatever community…

In the wake of the murder of Kate Steinle at the hands of a multiple-deportee, multiple felon — Clinton is now saying cities should cooperate with federal officials:

CNN’s Brianna Keilar: “Last week, an undocumented immigrant who had been deported five times, killed a 32-year old woman, Kate Steinle, in San Francisco, a sanctuary city where local law enforcement does not enforce federal immigration laws. When you last ran for President you supported sanctuary cities. In light of this terrible incident, does that change anything about your view on this?”

Clinton: “Well what should be done is any city should listen to the Department of Homeland Security, which as I understand it, urged them to deport this man again after he got out of prison another time. Here’s a case where we’ve deported, we’ve deported, we’ve deported, he ends back up in our country and I think the city made a mistake. The city made a mistake not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on. However, there are, like if it were the first-time traffic citation, if it were something minor, a misdemeanor, that’s entirely different. This man had already been deported five times, and he should have been deported at the request of the federal government.”


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