FLASHBACK: Bill Clinton Extols Virtues of ‘Open Borders, Easy Immigration’


In July 2007, former President 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.”

As he hailed the virtues of “open borders,” Clinton told the crowd that there is no stopping this mobility and globalization:

The modern world is obviously full of opportunity. … With open borders, easy travel, easy immigration, you see these things happening all over the world. We are increasingly bound together. And with more than a trillion dollars crossing national borders every year, even if we repealed all the trade agreements in the world, you couldn’t stop a lot of this globalization and mobility.

Clinton’s 2007 speech seemed to build upon to earlier arguments he has made, in which he’s argued that “the great mission of the 21st century is … to move from mere interdependence [of individual nations] to integration” and “to create a genuine global community … that has shared responsibilities, shared benefits and shared values.”

Clinton previously explained that under this worldview, “America has greater obligations to open our borders and to invest more in the development of poor countries.”

Clinton’s previous forthright declarations of support for “open borders” seem to undercut claims made by many in corporate media today, who insist that the Clintons do not support open borders.

In his 2007 speech, Clinton elaborated on his vision for developing a “global community”—suggesting that the creation of these transnational “integrated communities” would be paid for by wealthy nations, like the United States. For instance, Clinton even seemed to go as far as to suggest that wealthy nations should cover the cost of educating every child in the world:

This is an unsustainable world. So in our relations with each other and within our own communities and nations, we have to go beyond an interdependence that is unequal, unstable and unsustainable. We have to build integrated communities of shared opportunities, a shared sense of responsibility for success, a genuine sense of belonging. … The good news is, we actually know how to do a lot of this. We know what it would cost to put every child in school who’s not in school, and we know what — if the wealthy countries of the world chose to pay for it, we know that it wouldn’t be aid; it would be an investment in the world’s future. We also know what it would cost to build effective health systems to deal with AIDS, TB, malaria, other tropical diseases, maternal and child health. And it should be seen not as aid but as an investment in a common future.

Perhaps most radically, Clinton seemed to suggest that the world ought to view its obligations to one another in the same way as would “one nation”— and that America ought to care for the global impoverished population in the same way that America would take care of its own impoverished U.S. citizens:

When I was a young boy, barely old enough to be aware, in the late 1940s, there were still places in my home state, in Arkansas, which had a per-capita income of only half the national average. There were places in my home state that had no electricity; that had only well water, no running water; that had no sanitation; even that had no telephones. There were a few rural places that had no telephones, in my lifetime. Soon enough, all of those places were reached, those remote rural villages that were quite poor. No one thought of it as aid, because we were all in one nation. It was viewed as an investment. That’s the way the world has to look at every place that needs income, education and health care. (Applause.) It’s an investment, because we’re all tied together. We know how to do that.

Indeed, Clinton seemed to call for the development of a global identity which brings with it a “genuine sense of belonging” to the entire world. Clinton even seemed to suggest that if people do not come to identify themselves as citizens of the world, then all of his life’s work of launching global initiatives will be nothing more than “a pathetic failure.”

“Identity. I want you to think about it,” Clinton said. He added:

Gandhi understood this. … Ghandi knew from the depths of his soul about our common humanity. So none of us are that great, but we don’t have to be that great anywhere. We are on this little bitty planet. There are — we now know there are hundreds of billions of planets in the universe.


But the whole world’s future comes down to this: How do we identify ourselves?


Our whole mind, our whole being is wired toward making distinctions … knowing the difference between men and women and tall and short, old and young. That’s how brains work. But if we lose the sense that our common humanity matters more in a world where everything is related, then all the things I have said today about climate change, health care, education, everything else is totally irrelevant, and every little feeble effort I have made in my life to bring together while others are trying to tear them apart will be a pathetic failure. That is what I ask you to think about. … What is keeping us from it is an inadequate sense of identity, a sense of belonging, that we belong together.

“We certainly don’t want to homogenize the world,” Clinton added. “But when we believe that our distinctions are so important that they obliterate the significance of our common humanity, in an interdependent world we are bound for constant trouble because we cannot escape each other.”

“I think the most important challenge of the world is how we think and feel and teach our children to think and feel,” Clinton said. “America has been following a foreign policy in the last few years that basically says we will act alone when we can and cooperate when we have to. In an interdependent world, you have to cooperate whenever you can and act alone only when you’re forced to.”

The Los Angeles Times noted that during his speech, Clinton also said that he was bothered by the criticisms of outsourcing “because it failed to acknowledge the contributions of Indians who settled in the U.S.”

Clinton said:

When I see all of you here — and I read in the press all the time about — stories about outsourcing, which bothers me, but what about all the insourcing? (Chuckles.) Look at what you did for America. Look at how many of you are here — (applause) — how many jobs you’ve created, how many people work for you. … The prosperity enjoyed by the Indian community in the United States is evidence of what is good about the global economy.

Clinton also praised the immigration policies resulting from the 1965 Ted Kennedy immigration rewrite, which lifted the immigration curbs enacted by President Calvin Coolidge and opened up American visas to the entire world.

“America is so much more interesting a place today than it was 30 years ago because we have people from everywhere here,” Clinton said. “And we know that all these distinctions and these differences add to the search for truth and help us to push back the barriers of all the problems we have.

Clinton’s suggestion that the large-scale insourcing of foreign nationals represents what is good about the global economy is perhaps interesting.

As Breitbart News has reported, the Clintons have extensive ties to India-based corporations, such as Tata and HCL, that import foreign workers from India into the United States on H-1B and L-1 visas to help corporations lay off and replace American workers with foreign laborers who will work for a fraction of the wage.

During the heated 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton came under fire for her helping India-based firms that insource low-wage foreign nationals to displace American workers.

In fact, Bill Clinton’s 2007 remarks to the Indian American conference came just one month after the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama had challenged the Clintons’ questionable “personal, financial, and political ties to India”— going so far as to identify his Democratic primary opponent as “Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab),” suggesting that she represents foreign nations and foreign citizens rather than her own American constituents.

The line was a reference to a joke Clinton had made in which she told a group of Indian Americans that she saw herself as the elected representative of foreign citizens in the Indian region of Punjab. “I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York,” Clinton reportedly told attendees of the 2005 Sikh American Heritage dinner event held in the U.S. Senate.

A 2007 report from the Los Angeles Times highlighted Clinton’s “bind” as she sought to “woo” wealthy Indian donors— to whom she’d “telegraph” her longstanding support for outsourcing American jobs and insourcing foreign workers— while at the same time launching her eventually failed effort to win over Democratic primary voters, who were skeptical of such practices.

“Clinton is successfully wooing wealthy Indian Americans, many of them business leaders with close ties to their native country and an interest in protecting outsourcing laws and expanding access to worker visas,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, noting that “her campaign continues to telegraph — sometimes in front of Indian American audiences — that she sees benefits to a globalized world.”

The Los Angeles Times wrote that such efforts “signaled that Clinton, who portrays herself as a fighter for American workers, had aligned herself with Indian American business leaders and Indian companies feared by the labor movement.”

“Some U.S. worker organizations say Clinton cannot claim to support American workers if she is also helping Indian outsourcing companies and proposing more worker visas,” the Times reported.


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