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Bill Clinton on Immigration

President of the U.S., 1993-2001; Former Democratic Governor (AR)


2000: Required agencies to communicate in foreign languages

Congress traditionally refused to admit new states if they lacked an English-speaking majority. In recent decades, the incentive to learn English has eroded. For example, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 required provision of bilingual voting ballots. California and some other states also allow voting by mail in state elections using non-English language ballots. But bilingual ballots should not be needed, because immigrants since the Nationality Act of 1906 (later reaffirmed in the Nationality Act of 1940) have had to demonstrate literacy in English in order to gain US citizenship. Since only citizens can vote, why should anyone need a foreign language ballot?

Furthermore, just before he left office President Clinton signed Executive Order 13166, which required federal agencies to ensure people could receive communications and services from the government in foreign languages. Although well-intentioned, the policy further reduces motivation for immigrants to learn English.

Source: Leadership and Crisis, by Bobby Jindal, p.139 , Nov 15, 2010

Assure Mexico: no mass deportations

Immigration was a big issue [in discussions between myself and the president of Mexico]. Many Central Americans and people from the Caribbean nations were working in the US and sending money back home to their families, providing a major source of income in the smaller nations. The leaders were worried about the anti-immigration stance Republicans had taken and wanted my assurances that their would be no mass deportations. I gave it to them, but also said we had to enforce our immigration laws.
Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.756 , Jun 21, 2004

In 50 years, US will have no majority race, like NYC now

In 1998, Mr. Clinton rhapsodized to a cheering student audience about a day when Americans of European descent will be a minority. "Today, largely because of immigration, there is no majority race in Hawaii or Houston or NYC. Within 5 years there will be no majority race in our largest state, California. In a little more than 50 years there will be no majority race in the US. No other nation in history has gone through demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time."

Correction: no nation in history has gone through a demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time, and remained the same nation. Mr. Clinton assured us that it will be a better America when we are all minorities and realize true "diversity."

Source: The Death of the West, by Pat Buchanan, p. 3 , Oct 15, 2002

Reduce immigration backlog while maintaining quality

Since 1993, the US has welcomed nearly 4.4 million new American citizens. Faced with this unprecedented number of applications, the Administration undertook an initiative that has significantly reduced the backlog of citizenship applications and is restoring timely processing while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the process. The INS is on track to meet its goal of reducing this backlog by completing 1.3 million applications this year while maintaining the highest levels of quality.
Source: WhiteHouse.gov web site , Jul 2, 2000

Opposed Official English; strengthen bilingual education

Source: WhiteHouse.gov web site , Jul 2, 2000

700 new Border Patrol agents; increased penalties on aliens

The Clinton Administration sent a legislative proposal to Congress in 1995 to strengthen the country's strategy for combating illegal immigration. This proposed legislation provides for:
Source: State of the Union, by T.Blood & B.Henderson, p. 44 , Aug 1, 1996

Strict enforcement against illegal immigration

We must not tolerate illegal immigration. Since 1992, we have increased our Border Patrol by over 35%; deployed underground sensors, infrared night scopes and encrypted radios; built miles of new fences; and installed massive amounts of new lighting. We have moved forcefully to protect American jobs by calling on Congress to enact increased civil and criminal sanctions against employers who hire illegal workers. Since 1993, we have removed 30,000 illegal workers from jobs across the country.
Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.134 , Jan 1, 1996

We are richer for the energy & ideas of immigrants

We must realize that all Americans, whatever their racial and ethnic origin, share the same old-fashioned values, work hard, care for their families, pay their taxes, and obey the law.

This same commitment to tolerance and equal opportunity should govern our approach to immigration. Itís important for us all to remember that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Legal immigration has made America what it is today-a vibrant and diverse nation, all the richer for the energy, ideas, and plain hard work immigrants have contributed to our society. Immigrants who enter our country legally and begin the process of attaining citizenship today are little different from the strivers who were our own ancestors. We need to remember that, and repudiate those who argue against immigration as a thinly veiled pretext for discrimination.

Source: Between Hope and History, by Bill Clinton, p.133-134 , Jan 1, 1996

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Bill Clinton.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Bill Clinton.
Other past presidents on Immigration: Bill Clinton on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole
V.P.Walter Mondale

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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014