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Hillary Clinton on Immigration

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


Immigrants keep America young and dynamic

In 2009, more than 55 million Americans were immigrants or the children of immigrants. These first- or second-generation Americans were valuable links back tot heir home countries and also significant contributors to our own country's economic, cultural, and political life. Immigration helped keep the US population young and dynamic at a time when many of our partners and competitors were aging. Russia, in particular, faced what President Putin himself has called a "demographic crisis." Even China, because of its "One Child Policy," was headed toward a demographic cliff. I only wish that the bipartisan bill passed the Senate in 2013 reforming our immigration laws could pass the House.
Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.550 , Jun 10, 2014

2007: Focus on comprehensive reform, not driver's licenses

[At the Drexel U. debate on Oct. 30, 2007, Hillary was asked if] she supported the idea of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, as NY's Gov. Eliot Spitzer had proposed.

Clinton said she sympathized with Spitzer, then pivoted to stress the need for comprehensive immigration reform. But when Dodd declared his opposition to the plan, Clinton jumped back in: "I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying to do it."

"Wait a minute!" interjected Dodd. "You said yes, you thought it made sense to do it." The moderator asked Clinton to clarify her position: Did she support Spitzer's plan or not?

Clinton said, "What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem. We have failed and George Bush has failed. Do I think this is the right thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? He's making an honest effort to do it."

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.147-148 , Jan 11, 2010

Allow driver's licenses for illegals until we get reform

The moderator asked Clinton to clarify her position: Did she support Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan or not, of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants? Clinton said, "Do I think this is the right thing for any governor to do? No. But I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying to do it."

Edwards wouldn't let go. "Unless I missed something, Sen. Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes," he noted, "and I think this is a real issue for the country."

"I was confused on Senator Clinton's answer," Obama said with a smirk. "I can't tell whether she was for it or against it." Clinton exited the stage both bloodied and bowed.

The next day, Clinton's people made an even bigger mess. A statement was issued that simply reformulated her muddled position from the night before. Then her press shop clarified the clarification, saying Clinton backed "the basic concept" of giving driver's licenses to illegals absent immigration reform.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.148 , Jan 11, 2010

NY licenses for illegals fills federal gap

The October 2007 debate turned to a plan by NY Governor Eliot Spitzer to make illegal immigrants eligible for driver's licenses. "What Gov. Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform," Clinton said. "In NY we have several million at any one time who are in NY illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability. Gov. Spitzer is trying to fill the vacuum. We need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform."

The moderator asked the others onstage whether anyone opposed the idea. Clinton reentered the conversation. "Well, I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying."

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p. 97-99 , Aug 4, 2009

No official English, but keep common unifying language

Q: Is there any downside to the US becoming a bilingual nation?

A: It’s important for as many Americans as possible to do what I have never been able to do, and that is learn another language and try to be bilingual because that connects us to the rest of the world. It is important that English remain our common unifying language because that brings our country together in a way that we have seen generations of immigrants coming to our shores be able to be part of the American experience and pursue the American dream. I have been adamantly against the efforts by some to make English the official language. That I do not believe is appropriate, and I have voted against it and spoken against it. I represent New York. We have 170 languages in NYC alone. I do not think we should be, in any way, discriminating against people who do not speak English, who use facilities like hospitals or have to go to court to enforce their rights. But English does remain an important part of the American experience.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Introduce a path to earn citizenship in the first 100 days

I, as president, would work with our neighbors to the south, to help them create more jobs for their own people. We need to bring the immigrants out of the shadows, give them the conditions that we expect them to meet, paying a fine for coming here illegally, trying to pay back taxes, over time, and learning English. If they had committed a crime, then they should be deported. But for everyone else, there must be a path to legalization. I would introduce that in the first 100 days of my presidency.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Consider halting certain raids on illegal immigrant families

Q: Federal raids by immigration enforcement officials have generated a great deal of anxiety and have divided the families of some of the 3 million US-born children who have at least one undocumented parent. Would you consider stopping these raids?

A: I would consider that, except in egregious situations where it would be appropriate to take the actions you’re referring to. But when we see what’s been happening, with babies being left with no one to take care of them, children coming home from school, no responsible adult left, that is not the America that I know. That is against American values. It is a stark admission of failure by the federal government. I signed onto the first comprehensive bill back in 2004. I’ve been advocating for it: tougher, more secure borders, but let’s do it the right way, cracking down on employers, who exploit undocumented workers and drive down wages for everyone else.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Border fence that cuts off a college campus is absurd

Q: As president, would you commit tonight that you would finish the fence and speed up the construction?

A: Both Obama and I voted for that as part of the immigration debate. There is a smart way to protect our borders, and there is a dumb way to protect our borders. What I learned is that the University of Texas at Brownsville would have part of its campus cut off. This is the kind of absurdity that we’re getting from this administration. I’ve been fighting with them about the northern border. Their imposition of passports and other kinds of burdens are separating people from families, interfering with business and commerce, the movement of goods and people. So what I’ve said is that I would say, wait a minute, we need to review this. There may be places where a physical barrier is appropriate. When both of us voted for this, we were voting for the possibility that where it was appropriate and made sense, it would be considered.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Deploy technology & personnel, not a border fence

Q: Do you think your vote on the border fence or the implementation of it was wrong?

A: There’s a lot we’ve learned about technology and smart fencing. There is technology that can be used instead of a physical barrier. It requires us having enough personnel along the border so that people can be supervising a certain limited amount of space and can be responsive in the event of people attempting to cross illegally. The way that the Bush administration is going about this, filing eminent domain actions against landowners and municipalities, makes no sense. After a careful review, listening to the people who live along the border, there may be limited places where it would work. But let’s deploy more technology and personnel, instead of the physical barrier. That will work better and will give us an opportunity to secure our borders without interfering with family relations, business relations, recreation and so much else that makes living along the border wonderful.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate at University of Texas in Austin , Feb 21, 2008

Guest workers only for farms, to address labor shortage

Q: You oppose guest worker program saying that it exploits workers, but you would carve out a special program for agricultural workers. Why single out agriculture and not other industries, like the hotel & hospitality industry here?

A: Well, for a couple of reasons. For one, there is a shortage of farm workers. This is a sector of the economy that over decades has been demonstrated to be very difficult to attract legal workers. That is not true yet in the hotel industry and the hospitality industry. So I would like to solve what is clearly a shortage-of-labor problem in the agricultural sector. I’d like to see it be a part of comprehensive immigration reform. In the absence of that, what’s happening is that farmers in California are starting to move their production facilities to Mexico and Latin American. It’s going to be a lose-lose for us if we don’t get that agricultural problem fixed.

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview , Feb 11, 2008

Don’t turn local police into immigration enforcers

Q: Here in Virginia, a local board tried to crack down on illegal immigration, by saying that the police should check on legal status when they pull someone over in the car. Is that a good idea?

A: I think it’s really sad that individual communities are trying to cope with our broken immigration system. It should not be the responsibility of a municipality or county. This has to be fixed at the federal level. There are lots of strong arguments against turning local police officers into immigration enforcement officials. It has to do with making sure people will report crimes, making sure people will go to the police when there’s a problem. That’s a matter of public safety. It doesn’t always only affect the immigrant community, it affects all of us. So I far prefer that we try to do what needs to be done on comprehensive immigration reform and I have spoken, you know, very forthrightly about what I would do.

Source: 2008 Politico pre-Potomac Primary interview , Feb 11, 2008

Deporting all illegal immigrants is unrealistic

People are nervous about immigration, and for the reasons that the economy isn’t working for people. The average American family has lost $1,000 in income. They’re looking for some explanation as to why this is happening. I ask them, well, what would you do? If you want to round up into four people, how many tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials would that take?“ How much authority would they have to be given to knock on every door of every business and every home?
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday , Jan 31, 2008

Illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses puts them at risk

Q: Why not let the illegal immigrants get driver’s licenses?

A: I do not think that it is either appropriate to give a driver’s license to someone who is here undocumented, putting them, frankly, at risk, because that is clear evidence that they are not here legally, and I believe it is a diversion from what should be the focus at creating a political coalition with the courage to stand up and change the immigration system.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday , Jan 31, 2008

Exploitation of undocumented workers drives down wages

Because of employers who exploit undocumented workers & drive down wages, there are job losses. What we have to do is to bring our country together to have a comprehensive immigration reform solution. If we can tighten our borders, crack down on employer who exploit workers, help local communities cope with the cost that they often have to contend with, help our friends to the south create more jobs for their own people, and if we take what we know to be the realities that we confront--12 to 14 million people here, what will we do with them? What we’ve got to do is to say, come out of the shadows. We will register everyone. We will check, because if you have committed a crime in this country or the country you came from, you will have to be deported. For the vast majority of people who are here, we will give you a path to legalization if you meet the following condition: pay a fine because you entered illegally, be willing to pay back taxes over time, try to learn English, and then you wait in line.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday , Jan 31, 2008

Co-sponsored comprehensive immigration reform in 2004

Q: Were you missing in action when Obama and McCain and Kennedy started formulating comprehensive immigration reform?

A: I co-sponsored comprehensive immigration reform in 2004. So I’ve been on record on behalf of this for quite some time. Representing New York, the home of the Statue of Liberty, bringing all of our immigrants to our shores, has been not only an extraordinary privilege, but given me the opportunity to speak out on these issues. When the House passed the most mean-spirited provision that said, if you were to give any help whatsoever to someone here illegally, you would commit a crime, I stood up and said that would have criminalized the Good Samaritan and Jesus Christ himself. I have been on record on this against this kind of demagoguery, this mean-spiritedness. It is something that I take very personally, because I have not only worked on behalf of immigrants; I have been working to make conditions better for many years. But let’s do it in a practical, realistic approach.

Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Los Angeles before Super Tuesday , Jan 31, 2008

English unifies us; teach ESL but support other languages

Q: Is this country gradually going to become more a Spanish-speaking country, and should we accept that?

A: Well, there’s three different points here. First, we need to have English as a common, unifying language. It’s an important part of who we are and how we keep this big, diverse country of ours going. Secondly, there are a lot of Americans who are citizens who speak different languages. I represent New York City. I think there’s, like, 170 languages and dialects; the city would be in total chaos if people didn’t get some services and some help in the language that they actually understood. And thirdly, make it clear that we do expect people who want to become legal in America to try to learn English. But that doesn’t mean that they have to give up the language that they originally had, but we have to do more with English as second language, more help in schools, to get people to be able to speak and comprehend English

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

Crack down on employers who exploit undocumented workers

Q: Would you help dispel the negative perception of illegal immigrants & undocumented workers that more and more Americans are beginning to have?

A: I deeply regret the way the Republicans are politicizing this issue. They are trying to outdo each other in basically demeaning and attacking those who are here in our country--yes, without documentation--but who are often doing the work that allows raising their families and making a contribution. The answer is comprehensive immigration reform. We have to keep working towards it. Yes, we’ve got to have tougher border security. We do have to crack down on employers who exploit and employee undocumented people. We’ve got to do more to help local communities bear the costs of it. Because they don’t set immigration laws. We’ve got to do more with our neighbors to the south to help them create more economic opportunity for their own people but at the end of the day there has to be an earned path to legalization.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum , Dec 1, 2007

Oppose granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants

Q: In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, do you support driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants?

A: No.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

FactCheck: Denied saying licensing illegals “made sense”

Hillary bobbed and weaved on whether illegal immigrants should be granted driver’s licenses, avoiding a yes-or-no answer but denying her own words in the process. When asked about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposal to grant state driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the US without legal permission, this exchange occurred:
CLINTON: I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it.

DODD: Wait a minute. You said yes, you thought it made sense to do it.

CLINTON: No, I didn’t. But the point is, what are we going to do with all these illegal immigrants who are driving?

Actually, we checked the video, and Clinton did tell the Nashua Telegraph on Oct. 17 that Spitzer’s plan “makes a lot of sense,” despite her denial to Dodd. During the debate, Clinton repeatedly said immigration should be dealt with nationally, not on a state-by-state basis. But after a long exchange she still hadn’t answered the question.
Source: FactCheck on 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Immigrant license issue needs federal action on reform

What Gov. Spitzer is trying to do [with immigrant licenses] is fill the vacuum left by the failure to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. We have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of probability. No state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform What is Spitzer supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem. We have failed. And Bush has failed. Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York, we want to know who’s in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows. He’s making an honest effort to do it. We should have passed immigration reform.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

More border patrolling on both Mexican AND Canadian borders

Q: None of the 9/11 terrorists entered the US through the Mexican border. Why build a wall there in the name of national security? You voted in favor of the border wall. Why on the Mexican border and not on the Canadian border?

A: I do favor much more border patrolling and much more technology on both of our borders, and in certain areas, even a physical barrier, because I think we’ve got to secure our borders. That has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform. I have championed comprehensive immigration reform, and it includes starting with securing our borders in order to give people the support they need to come over and support us when it comes to having a pathway to legalization. We all know that this has become a contentious political issue. We want to work in a bipartisan way to have comprehensive reform--employer verification, more help for local communities so that they can pay for schooling and hospital and other expenses that they have to bear because of the immigration crisis.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Immigration reform needs family unification as one goal

Q: Would you commit to immigration reform during your first year of the presidency?

A: Absolutely. And I think there are three different aspects of this.

  1. We do need to work with the Congress to get legislation that is comprehensive. I am proud to work with Sen. Menendez on trying to make sure that in the process of doing immigration reform, we don’t separate families, we try to have family unification as one of the goals. So in addition to giving people a path to legalization, we want to make sure their families can come along with them.
  2. There does have to be an intensive effort with our friends to the south to see how the US can once again be a partner, with a relationship based on mutual respect, where we work together to find ways that we can help them address the needs of the people living in countries to the south.
  3. Finally, we have to educate the American people about why immigration is as important today as it was when my family came through into Ellis Island.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Anti-immigrant bill would have criminalized Jesus Christ

Q: The negative tone of the immigration debate has left the country polarized and has created certain racist and discriminatory attitudes towards Hispanics, including legal residents and citizens of Hispanic origin. What would you do to curb anti-Hispanic sentiment in particular?

A: There are many in the political and the broadcast world today who take a particular aim at our Latino population. And I think it’s very destructive. It undermines our unity as a country. There was a particularly egregious example of that in the House-passed bill last year. The House bill tried to criminalize anyone who helped an illegal immigrant, anyone who gave them medical care, any church that opened up to give them food at a dinner or breakfast. And I said that it would have criminalized the Good Samaritan. It would have criminalized Jesus Christ. We have to say no, we are a nation of immigrants, and we will respect and treat one another with dignity.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Sanctuary cities ok; local police can’t enforce immigration

Q: Would you allow “sanctuary cities” to ignore the federal law & provide sanctuary to immigrants?

A: Why do they have sanctuary cities? In large measure because if local law enforcement begins to act like immigration enforcement officers, you will hav people not reporting crimes. You will have people hiding from the police. 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.

Q: But you would allow the sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?

A: Well, I don’t think there is any choice. The local police chief trying to solve a crime might know people from the immigrant community have information about it, but 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.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

Making English official imperils crises needing translators

If English becomes the official language, instead of recognized as national, that means in a place like New York City you can’t print ballots in any other language. That means you can’t have government pay for translators in hospitals so when somebody comes in with some sort of emergency there’s nobody there to help translate what their problem is for the doctors. So many of us voted that English was our national language but not the official language because of the legal consequences of that.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Comprehensive reform to get 12 million out of shadows

Q: Would you offer a form of amnesty for illegal aliens?

A: I’m in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes tightening our border security, sanctioning employers to employ undocumented immigrants, getting the 12 million or so immigrants out of the shadows. That’s very important to me. After 9/11, we’ve got to know who’s in this country. And then giving them a chance to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English & stand in line to be eligible for a legal status in this country.

Source: 2007 South Carolina Democratic primary debate, on MSNBC , Apr 26, 2007

Keep New York-Ontario border passport-free for tourism

Hillary’s idea of northern border enforcement is unclear. On April 10, 2005, Senator Clinton wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff charging that a proposal to require all border-crossers to show their passport when entering the US from Canada would “devastate tourism on both sides of the Canadian-American border.” In her letter, Hillary wrote that “the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres are dependent upon ticket sales to fans from Southern Ontario who have the option of watching the games on TV rather than in person.“ Thus, ”it is imperative that your departments listen closely to the voices of my constituents and consider all feasible alternatives that will both enhance security and facilitate commerce.“ Hillary asked the House and Senate appropriations chairmen to block funding for this border enforcement.
Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p.130-131 , Oct 11, 2006

Adamantly against illegal immigrants

Clearly states her opposition to illegal immigration: “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants... Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country, and one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry-and-exit system so that if we’re going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let’s have a system that keeps track of them.”
Source: What Every American Should Know, by the ACU, p. 81 , Sep 30, 2005


Hillary Clinton on Voting Record

Opposes illegal immigration, but doesn’t vote to follow up

Talking with a radio host in Nov. 2004, Hillary said, “I am adamantly against illegal immigrants.” That alone was a show stopper but she went on: “People have got to stop employing illegal immigrants. [in NY] you see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work & construction work & domestic work.”

A prominent Democrat had figured it out! (The NY Times later quoted it as “against illegal immigration.”) After she smacked employers of illegal aliens, she went right for the throat of the 2nd culprit, the federal government:

“We ought to come up with a much better entry & exit system so that if we’re going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let’s have a system that keeps track of them.”
Even my brother Pat Buchanan commented that Hillary’s “forthrightness makes Bush sound like a talking head for La Raza.” But Hillary had no follow-up to this unusual foray into the enemy camp, and her liberal voting pattern remained unaltered.
Source: The Extreme Makeover, by Bay Buchanan, p.113-117 , Jun 5, 2007

Voted YES on continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities".

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To create a reserve fund to ensure that Federal assistance does not go to sanctuary cities that ignore the immigration laws of the United States and create safe havens for illegal aliens and potential terrorists. This vote is a motion to table the amendment; voting YES would kill the amendment.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. VITTER: There are so-called sanctuary cities which establish as an official policy of their jurisdiction: We are not going to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement officials. That is wrong. What is more, it is completely contrary to Federal immigration law. My amendment says: We are going to put some consequence to that defiance of Federal law. We are not going to give them COPS funds. We are going to send those funds, instead, to all of those other jurisdictions which abide by Federal law.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. DURBIN: There are sanctuary cities in about 23 different States across America. What the Vitter amendment will do is to take away the COPS funding from those cities. Police departments will tell you they need the cooperation of everyone to solve crimes and stop crime. If you create fear in the minds of those who are here in an undocumented status that any cooperation with the police will result in their arrest, they will not cooperate and criminals will go free. Let's not use the COPS Program as some sort of threat. If you want to deal with immigration, deal with it responsibly in a comprehensive way. SUPPORTER'S RESPONSE:Sen. VITTER: If folks feel that way, they should come to Congress and change Federal law, not simply defy Federal law. This is another amnesty vote. Are we going to give folks in sanctuary cities amnesty for defying Federal law and refusing to cooperate with Federal immigration officials? LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Motion to Table Agreed to, 58-40

Reference: Bill Table S.Amdt.4309 to S.Con.Res ; vote number 08-S069 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted YES on comprehensive immigration reform.

    Establishes specified benchmarks which must be met before the guest worker and legalization programs may be initiated:
  1. operational control of the border with Mexico;
  2. Border Patrol increases;
  3. border barriers, including vehicle barriers, fencing, radar, and aerial vehicles;
  4. detention capacity for illegal aliens apprehended crossing the US-Mexico border;
  5. workplace enforcement, including an electronic employment verification system; and
  6. Z-visa alien processing.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

If we do not legislate now, we will not legislate later this year when our calendar is crowded with Iraq and appropriations bills. We are then an election year, and it will be pushed over to 2009. Circumstances will not be better then, they will be worse.

A vote against cloture is a vote to kill the bill. A Senator may vote for cloture and then express himself in opposition to the bill by voting against the bill.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

If this bill becomes law, we will see only a 13% reduction in illegal immigration into America, and in the next 20 years we will have another 8.7 million illegals in our country. How can that be reformed? I submit this would be a disaster.

The Congressional telephone systems have shut down because of the mass phone calls Congress is receiving. A decent respect for the views of the American people says let's stop here now. Let's go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that will work.

The American people get it, and they do have common sense and wisdom on this issue. They know repeating the fundamental mistakes of the 1986 bill, joining a big amnesty with inadequate enforcement, will cause the problem to grow and not diminish. They know promising enforcement after 30 years of broken promises isn't good enough. They know the so-called trigger is a joke because if the trigger is never pulled, the Z visas, the amnesty happens forever.

Reference: McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill; Bill S.1639 ; vote number 2007-235 on Jun 28, 2007

Voted NO on declaring English as the official language of the US government.

Voting YES would declare English as the national language of the Government of the US. Unless specifically provided by statute, no person would have an entitlement to have the Government of the US communicate or provide materials in any language other than English. If an exception is made with respect to the use of a language other than English, the exception does not create a legal entitlement to additional services in that language. If any form is issued by the Federal Government in a language other than English, the English language version of the form is the sole authority for all legal purposes. Nothing in this amendment shall prohibit the use of a language other than English.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

Right now, the polling shows that 91% of the people in America want English as an official language, and 76% of Hispanics believe English should be an official language.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

I believe the American people understand in order to succeed in our society, immigrants need to learn English. But the amendment would do a number of things that are problematical. The first is that it is contrary to the provisions of law that exist in many States. For example, in New Mexico, you have in their State Constitution, a provision that says that many of the documents within that State have to be provided in both English and Spanish. The same thing is true for the State of Hawaii. I believe this is a States rights issue, and those constitutions of those States ought to be respected. I do not believe it is a matter we ought to be imposing here from Washington DC.

Also, this amendment would undo an executive order conceived by President Bill Clinton and implemented by President George Bush. Both recognized it is important that people who have limited English proficiency receive the kinds of services so they can understand what is going on in terms of the interface between the Government and themselves.

Reference: National Language Amendment Act; Bill S.Amdt.1151 to S.1348 ; vote number 2007-198 on Jun 6, 2007

Voted YES on eliminating the "Y" nonimmigrant guestworker program.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This legislation says we wish to add something called guest workers or temporary workers. With guest workers, working Americans would discover there is no opportunity for upward mobility at their job. In fact, every day their employers are trying to find ways to push down wages, eliminate retirement, and eliminate health care. What has happened in this country, with what is called the "new global economy," is dramatic downward pressure on income for American workers. The guest worker program provides that 400,000 people will be able to come in to assume jobs in our country per year--adding to the 12 million illegal immigrants already here.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

I certainly concur about the need to secure our borders, about the need to have a workable immigration system, and the need for reform that ensures the rule of law is restored in the US. Where I differ is in the belief that we can actually achieve these goals if we have no ability for temporary workers to come to the country. This amendment would eliminate the temporary worker program from this bill.

Now, there are several reasons why a temporary worker program, within certain constraints, is a good idea. The first reason is because it will help to relieve the magnet for illegal immigration. The reason most of the people are crossing our border illegally is to get employment. There are jobs available for them. Some people say this is work Americans will not do. That is actually not true. But there are not enough American citizens to do all of the work that needs to be done. So naturally the law of supply and demand sets in here. People come across the border illegally, and they take that work. What we want to do is both close the border, but also eliminate the magnet for illegal employment here, because the reality is desperate people will always try to find some way to get into the country.

Reference: Dorgan Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.1153 on S.1348 ; vote number 2007-174 on May 22, 2007

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border.

Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:

  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-262 on Sep 29, 2006

Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program.

Reference: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S. 2611 ; vote number 2006-157 on May 25, 2006

Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.

Voting YEA would table (kill) the proposed amendment to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits. Voting NAY supports that prohibition, while voting YEA supports immigrants participating in Social Security. Text of amendment:
To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.
Reference: Preclusion of Social Security Credits; Bill S.Amdt.3985 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-130 on May 18, 2006

Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship.

This amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would prohibit H-2C nonimmigrants ("Guest Workers") from adjusting to lawful permanent resident status. Voting YEA on the motion to table (which would kill the amendment) indicates supporting a path to citizenship for guest workers. Voting NAY on the motion indicates opposing any path to citizenship. The amendment says:
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, an alien having nonimmigrant status is ineligible for and may not apply for adjustment of status.''
Reference: Kyl Amendment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S.Amdt.3969 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-135 on May 18, 2006

Sponsored bill covering child resident aliens under Medicaid.

Clinton sponsored covering child resident aliens under Medicaid & SCHIP

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Grants States the option of covering certain categories of eligible pregnant women and child resident aliens, including targeted low-income children, under the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This legislation would allow States to use Federal funds to provide critical healthcare services to pregnant women and children. This bill is fundamentally about three things--fairness, fiscal relief, and financial savings.

I will start with fairness. All across America, legal immigrants work hard, pay taxes, and exercise their civic responsibilities. Yet, in 1996, Congress denied safety net services to legal immigrants who had been in the country for less than 5 years.

This legislation is also a matter of good fiscal policy. Today, 19 States use State funds to provide healthcare services to legal immigrants within the 5-year waiting period. At least 155,000 children and 60,000 adults are receiving these benefits. A total of 387,000 recent legal immigrants would be eligible to receive these services if their States opt to take advantage of the program.

And finally, this bill is about long-term healthcare cost savings. Covering uninsured children and pregnant women through Medicaid can reduce unnecessary hospitalization by 22%. Pregnant women who forgo prenatal care are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy, which results in higher costs for postpartum care. And women without access to prenatal care are four times more likely to deliver low birth weight infants and seven times more likely to deliver prematurely than women who receive prenatal care, according to the Institute of Medicine. All of these health outcomes are costly to society and to the individuals involved.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Finance; never came to a vote.

Source: Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act (S.1104/HR.1233) 05-S1104 on May 23, 2005

Sponsored bill funding social services for noncitizens.

Clinton sponsored providing funding for social services for noncitizens

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To establish a grant program to provide financial assistance to States and local governments for the costs of providing health care and educational services to noncitizens, and to provide additional funding for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP).

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: Immigration is a Federal responsibility. For too long the Federal Government has neglected its duty. My amendment addresses one of the clearest examples of this neglect because our failed national immigration policy has left our State and local governments to bear the brunt of the cost of immigration. Our schools, our hospitals, our other State and local services are being strained.

This amendment does several things. It helps finally provide adequate support for State and local governments. How? Well, it not only appropriates the SCAAP funding to our States, but it establishes a program that provides financial assistance to State and local governments for the cost of health and educational services related to immigration. Money is allocated to our States in accordance with a funding formula based on the size and recent growth of the State's noncitizen population. The State must then pass the funds on to local governments and other entities that need the money for reimbursement.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Rollcall vote #133; lost 43-52.

Source: SCAAP Funding (S.AMDT.4072 to S.2611) 06-SP4072 on May 18, 2006

Rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance.

Clinton scores 8% by USBC on immigration issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:

About USBC (from their website, www.usbc.org):

U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.

Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.

Source: USBC website 06n-USBC on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Immigration: Hillary Clinton on other issues:
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