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Kirsten Gillibrand on Immigration

Democratic Senator (NY)

 


Reunite families ripped apart at the border

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today released the following statement in response to President Trump's State of the Union address:

"President Trump has had years to bring this country together, but instead he has chosen to divide the country across every single line he can imagine. If President Trump wants to convince the country that he actually cares about bringing us together, then he can start by no longer using government workers as political pawns, reuniting the families that his Administration ripped apart at the border, and stopping with political wedge issues like telling women they can't make their own health decisions in consultation with their doctor."

Source: 2020 presidential hopefuls on 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 6, 2019

2006: anti-illegal alien; 2019: diversity is our strength

Gillibrand apologized for holding "callous" views on immigration on "The Rachel Maddow Show." Maddow discussed what she called Gillibrand's "conservative bona fides" in unseating a GOP congressman in 2006. Gillibrand used the expression "illegal aliens," now a huge no-no for progressives, and called for making English the country's official language.

Maddow reminded Gillibrand she once said she was "embarrassed" by her previous positions on immigration. "Well, I don't think it was driven from my heart. I was callous to the suffering of families who want to be with their loved ones, people who want to be reunited with their families," Gillibrand said. "I recognize, as we all do, that immigration and diversity is our strength as a country. It's always driven our economy. It's the American story. So looking back, I really regretted that I didn't look beyond my district and talk about why this is an important part of the United States story and why it's an important part of our strength."

Source: Washington Free Beacon on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 16, 2019

Blue Dog: opposed sanctuary cities & opposed amnesty

During her tenure in the House, Gillibrand was part of the Blue Dog Coalition, voting in favor of legislation that would withhold funds from sanctuary cities and opposing amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

For those just getting acquainted with Gillibrand in the Trump era, in which she has voted with the president's position less than 12% of the time (the lowest among her colleagues), her past views may come as a surprise.

On immigration, the New York Democrat explained her shift: "I came from a district that was 98% white," Gillibrand said. "We have immigrants, but not a lot of immigrants. And I just didn't take the time to understand why these issues mattered because it wasn't right in front of me. And that was my fault. It was something that I'm embarrassed about and I'm ashamed of."

Source: Washington Examiner on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Jan 15, 2019

Central American migrant caravan is seeking asylum

The candidates clashed on immigration, whether ICE should be abolished, and the massive migrant caravan moving slowly through Mexico. "People are calling it a caravan, I call it an invasion," Farley said. "We can't allow open borders."

"I do not support open borders, and neither do Democrats," Gillibrand countered. "What we have in this country is an immigration crisis. You have people in this caravan to seek asylum in this country. Immigration has always been a strength in this country. We are a country founded by immigrants. So we need to fix our broken immigration system. Separating children from their parents at the border is immoral, that's what this president has done."

"This is an act of terrorism," Farley responded. "It's got to stop. But my opponent, Senator Gillibrand, wants to abolish ICE, which since 9/11 is the group primarily responsible for stopping terror."

Source: ABC-7 Eyewitness News on 2018 New York Senatorial debate , Oct 25, 2018

Get rid of ICE; separate anti-terrorism from border control

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently joined a growing number of Democrats who say they should get rid the agency when they take back control of the House and the Senate after the midterms.

"I think we should get rid of ICE," she said. "We should separate out two missions and do the anti-terrorism mission, the national security mission, and then on the other side, make sure you're doing-- looking at immigration as a humanitarian issue. These are civil issues."

Source: Independent Journal Review on 2018 New York Senate race , Jul 31, 2018

Government IDs for illegals as part of comprehensive reform

Immigration reform was among the issues that drew sharp contrasts between Gillibrand and DioGuardi. DioGuardi said he supports legal immigration. "But it seems to me right now that I would not look to reform anything until we looked at the whole picture and until we shut down the borders," he said. "We cannot allow porous borders in America."

But Gillibrand said the time is ripe for comprehensive immigration reform. She defended her previous opposition to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to issue government IDs to undocumented immigrants, saying it's an issue best addressed on the federal level. "That is something I would certainly look into, and we want to make sure that folks have the ability to get an ID," Gillibrand said. "But it's best done in a comprehensive bill because these are all the issues that we need to actually address."

Source: WNYC News coverage of 2010 N. Y. Senate debate , Oct 15, 2010

Create a real path to earned citizenship

Immigration reform will not be easy, but it is essential that our country recognize the important role all immigrants play in our economic prosperity. Treating undocumented workers as political pawns is an affront to our national story and an assault on our economy.

Kirsten is committed to fixing America's broken immigration system--creating a real path to earned citizenship with strict accountability and providing fair labor rights to all workers. While upholding America's security and the rule of law, Kirsten is working to reform our immigration system to unite families and provide laborers needed by our farms and businesses.

Current law is unfairly punishing thousands of young people who have spent most of their lives in America. Kirsten has taken the lead to change this by co-sponsoring the DREAM Act to provide every child the opportunity to get a good education and earn their way to legal status.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, kirstengillibrand.com, "Home" , Aug 12, 2010

Opposed amnesty; opposed driver licenses; required English

As a congresswoman, Gillibrand had unfalteringly opposed immigration reform. But when numerous Hispanic groups suddenly threatened to run a primary against her, Gillibrand suddenly saw the merit in their polar-opposite positions and swiftly did a complet reversal.

According to the New York Times, Gillibrand had: "opposed any sort of amnesty for illegal immigrants, supported deputizing local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration laws, spoke out against allowing illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses and sought to make English the official language of the US. She sided in favor of requiring adult occupants of affordable housing to provide proof of residency." In other words, she was the pro-immigration lobby's worst nightmare.

But all of that change, too. Just days into her tenure, after meeting with Latino and Chinese political leaders, she suddenly dropped her opposition to paths to citizenship and her support for English as a second language.

Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.184-185 , Apr 13, 2010

Provide lawyers and evidence for children being deported.

Gillibrand co-sponsored S.2540/H.R.4646

This bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint or provide counsel at government expense to aliens in removal proceedings.

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall provide an alien in removal proceedings with all relevant documents in its possession, unless the alien has knowingly waived the right to such documents.
  • DOJ may appoint or provide counsel to aliens in any INA proceeding.
  • DHS shall ensure that aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration detention and border facilities.
  • DOJ shall appoint counsel, at government expense if necessary, for an unaccompanied alien child or a particularly vulnerable individual.
  • DHS shall establish a pilot program to increase the court appearance rates of unaccompanied alien children and particularly vulnerable individuals by contracting with nongovernmental, community-based organizations to provide such aliens with case management services.
    Source: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act 16-S2540 on Feb 11, 2016

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    Page last updated: Mar 15, 2019