Immigration Reform and Hillary Clinton

President hopeful Hillary Clinton has consistently supported the notion of Comprehensive Immigration Reform and continues with message of support in her candidacy. On Tuesday Mrs. Clinton will meet with various immigrants at a high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Supporters are awaiting to hear if she will continue to pledge her strong support to the immigration initiative.

Late last year, in 2014, President Obama proposed a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that was blocked by Congress and remains in limbo after a Texas judge filed an injunction in federal court, alleging that the President’s actions were unlawful. Mrs. Clinton fully pledged her approval and support of the President’s plans at that time. She stated publically that the immigration system was broken and that the government should focus its resources on removing criminals, rather than tearing apart families.

Several years earlier, in 2008, Mrs. Clinton debated with President Obama at the time she was running for the Democratic nomination for president. At that time, Mrs. Clinton stated that she felt strongly about the deportation of undocumented individuals with criminal convictions. However, she also stated clearly that the “vast majority” of individuals present in the country, without immigration benefits, should be accorded a path to legalization as long as they were and continue to be contributing members of society. Some of the stipulations she mentioned included a clean criminal history, family ties to the United States, consistently paying income taxes, (paying back taxes if required), paying a “fine” as well as learning English.

There was concern about her earlier views on the immigration debate. In 2007, Mrs. Clinton made a statement saying that she did not agree with states allowing undocumented individuals to obtain driver’s licenses. However, since that time, she has changed her position on the same topic and now has pledged that she supports the notion of permitting individuals without immigration status to obtain a state driver’s license.

There is also the possibility that an earlier anti-immigration statement she made to the New York Times in 2003, may come back to haunt her. At the time, Mrs. Clinton stated that she was “adamantly” against illegal immigration and admonished employers for hiring undocumented individuals. However, since that time, Mrs. Clinton has softened her views and has changed her stance on the subject.

More recently, when she was a New York state senator, Mrs. Clinton co-sponsored legislation to provide “amnesty” to agriculture workers in the state. In 2008 she was interviewed on the subject where she stated that she was aware of the shortage of farm workers in the United States. She pointed out that the agricultural segment of the economy has historically attracted undocumented workers and that this was something to be addressed as well as a possible increase in the import of agricultural products from Central and South America. On the other hand, she also stated that she did not support an increase in the number of visas allowed for foreign or guest workers in the hospitality industry.

Leading activists in the immigration arena are hopeful that if elected, Mrs. Clinton will do more to advance Comprehensive Immigration Reform than President Obama was able to accomplish during his two terms in office. Their hope is that the issue will be high on her list of priorities to get something done, and not just an issue she “supports.”

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