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Clinton Flip Flops On Issues Related To Immigration Have Drawn Heat

- February 18, 2016

Going Into Nevada, Clinton Has Worked To Bolster Her "Firewall" By Reaching Out To Hispanic Voters

In Nevada, Clinton's Campaign Has Prioritized Minority Outreach To Fend Off Sanders' Surge In The Polls . "Targeting the state's minority populations has been key to Clinton's approach, which includes a Latina-to-Latina phone banking program, Spanish-language caucus training, endorsements from African-American faith leaders and outreach to the state's growing Asian population. Filipino Clinton staffers have been hosting traditional dinners with locals featuring customary banana-leaf seating. She also has the endorsement of most of the state's big unions." (Heidi Przybyla, "Clinton Tires To Avoid Another Setback In Nevada Amid Sanders Surge," USA Today , 2/17/16)

"Nevada Was Supposed To Be "A Solid Brick In Clinton's Firewall Of Support." "Nevada was supposed to be a solid brick in Clinton's firewall of support. Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, ran her Nevada operation in 2008 and has hired several veterans of then-senator Barack Obama's campaign. Clinton won the popular vote in the state's caucuses in 2008, though Obama ended up with more delegates. The Clinton campaign opened its first office in July, while Sanders didn't set up shop until October." (Heidi Przybyla, "Clinton Tires To Avoid Another Setback In Nevada Amid Sanders Surge," USA Today , 2/17/16)

But Clinton Was Forced To Awkwardly Defend Comments About Deporting Unaccompanied Minors

At A Recent Democratic Debate, Clinton Said She Supports Deporting Children From Central America Who Illegally Enter The U.S., Saying Children Had To Be Returned To Their Families. "In a debate in Milwaukee last week, Clinton and Sanders sparred over immigration, an exchange getting closer scrutiny in light of Nevada's sizable Latino population. Sanders said he opposed efforts to send back children from Central America streaming across the U.S. southern border, while Clinton supported deporting them Clinton said the children had to be returned 'to send a message' to their families not to send them on a dangerous journey where they could be kidnapped and abused." (Heidi Przybyla, "Clinton Tires To Avoid Another Setback In Nevada Amid Sanders Surge," USA Today , 2/17/16)

In A Recent Nevada TV Interview, Clinton Claimed She Supported The Deportation Of Central American Children Because She Was Acting As A "Child Advocate." CLINTON: "But on this particular issue, of course the young people who got here were going to be processed according to our law. I've called for counsel for every single one of them. But there were a lot of voices that were really concerned that if there wasn't some messaging sent to families in Central America, these poor families would be scraping together every penny they had, handing it over to smugglers, handing over their precious children, and we know, some of those children don't make it Jon. And some of them that do are traumatized because of the rapes, and the beatings, and the misbehavior that they are subjected to. So I was acting as I have acted my entire life: as a child advocate. And I was glad that the Obama administration began moving resources to Honduras and El Salvador and Guatemala so we would have government officials in those countries to try to process people in a more orderly way. So once they get here, of course they're entitled to due process, they can't have due process if they don't have counsel. That's why I was the first to say let's make sure they have counsel." (KNPB's "Ralston Live," 2/16/16)

Clinton's Statements Led To Criticism From The New York Times Editorial Board, Who Said She Had A Mixed Record On Immigration

After Her Milwaukee Debate Performance, The New York Times Editorial Board Called Out Clinton For Her Mixed Record On Immigration . "Over the years, Mrs. Clinton has shown an unfortunate tendency to oscillate between harshness and compassion on immigration questions. She seems to reach instinctively for the tougher-sounding policy before coming around, eventually, to positions that more closely reflect American ideals of welcome - ideals that Mr. Sanders voiced fluently on Thursday night." (Editorial, "Mrs. Clinton's Mixed Immigration Message," The New York Times, 2/13/16)

When Clinton Defended Her Stance On Sending Migrant Children Back To Central America, The New York Times Called It The "Wrong Answer." " In Thursday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton defended her past statements that Central American migrant children needed to be sent home from the border to "send a message" to other families: Don't come. Wrong answer - which Bernie Sanders immediately pointed out." (Editorial, "Mrs. Clinton's Mixed Immigration Message," The New York Times, 2/13/16)

Clinton Was Asked The Following Week About The New York Times' Editorial, And Responded, "I Don't Have A Mixed Record On Immigration." "RALSTON: "Let's talk about an issue that's really important in this state, and I know is important to you, and that's the issue of immigration. The New York Times, I'm sure you read that occasionally, had an editorial talking about your mixed record on immigration. The issue of the Central American children being sent back, that came up during the debate. I've looked at the context of that. You said, you actually said during your interview back then, you remember with Christiane Amanpour, 'yeah maybe it's safer here, but that's not the best solution.' Do you regret taking that position? In other words, maybe these children, of course they were being used, right?" CLINTON: Right, right. RALSTON: But still, they should, maybe they should have been allowed to stay here. It is safer here than a lot of the places they would have had to go back to." CLINTON: "Well I'm glad you asked that. I don't have a mixed record on immigration." (KNPB's "Ralston Live," 2/16/16)

Clinton's "Muted" Response To Obama's Recent Immigrant Deportation Raids Has Led To Criticism Of Refusing To Take A Clear Stand

Recently, The Obama Administration Began Deportation Raids Of Undocumented Immigrant Families Across The U.S. "The Obama administration confirmed Monday that it began a new wave of arrests of Central American immigrant families over the weekend, moving forward with deportations of mothers and children despite an outcry from immigrant rights groups and potential political fallout for Democrats." (Josh Gerstein and Seung Min Kim, "Obama Administration Kicks Off Family Deportation Raids," Politico, 1/4/16)

Clinton Took A More "Muted" Approach Than Her Democratic Opponents To The Obama Raids, Saying They Were Only "A Real Concern." "The disclosure of the planned raids drew immediate criticism from Democratic presidential candidates. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley strongly condemned the planned actions, while frontrunner Hillary Clinton issued a more muted statement through a spokeswoman, who said Clinton had 'real concerns' about the plans. Word of the planned raids also highlight a political predicament for Clinton, who endorsed quick return of illegal immigrant children in 2014 but is also trying to court Latino voters." (Josh Gerstein and Seung Min Kim, "Obama Administration Kicks Off Family Deportation Raids," Politico, 1/4/16)

"Clinton's Opponents Blasted The Statement As Another Example Of Clinton Trying To Third-Way Her Way Out Of Clear-Cut Moral Decision." (Glen Thrush, "Hillary's Border Crisis," Politico, 12/30/15)

O'Malley Was Quick To Denounce Clinton's Weak Statement, Calling It "Par For The Course" With Clinton On Immigration Issues. " 'I think it is par for the course with Secretary Clinton. On the immigration issue, she tends to blow in the wind,' O'Malley told POLITICO on Tuesday, when asked if Clinton should join him in denouncing the tentative DHS plan. 'I see it very much as an issue of principle and American values [but] she sees it as one more issue about which to triangulate.'" (Glen Thrush, "Hillary's Border Crisis," Politico, 12/30/15)

Immigration Activists Have Called For Clinton To Strongly Condemn The Raids. "Immigrants and activists marched to the White House on Wednesday to demand that President Barack Obama call off reported plans for deportation raids on Central American families -- and for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to speak out more strongly against them." (Elise Foley, "Immigration Activists Say Deportation Raids Could Send Families To Their Deaths," The Huffington Post, 12/30/15)

  • The Protestors Want Clinton To Prove She Is An "Ally Of The Latino Community." "They said Clinton should speak out against the raids to show she is an ally of the Latino community." (Elise Foley, "Immigration Activists Say Deportation Raids Could Send Families To Their Deaths," The Huffington Post, 12/30/15)

Clinton Flip-Flopped On The Use Of The Term "Illegal Immigrant"

In November, Clinton Bragged About Voting "To Build A Barrier To Try To Prevent Illegal Immigrants From Coming In." "Well, I voted numerous times when I was a Senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in," Clinton told the audience. "And I do think you have to control your borders." (Sam Frizell, "Martin O'Malley Hits Hillary Clinton For Saying 'Illegal Immigrants," Time, 11/12/15)

Clinton Then Apologized For Using The Term "Illegal Immigrant" And Said It Was "A Poor Choice Of Words." " Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that her use of the term 'illegal immigrant' at a town hall in New Hampshire earlier this month was a 'poor choice of words.' 'That was a poor choice of words,' Clinton wrote during a Facebook chat. 'As I've said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names, and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected.'" (Dan Merica, "Clinton Says Her Use Of Term 'Illegal Immigrant' Was A 'Poor Choice Of Words,'" CNN, 11/24/15)

Clinton Flip-Flopped On Border Security, Claiming We Couldn't Afford A Wall After Bragging About Voting "Numerous Times" To Build One

In January, Clinton Said She Doesn't Think The U.S. Can Afford To Build A Wall On The Mexican Border. MADDELA: "Can we afford the build a wall on the southern order or ship everyone back." CLINTON: "Well I don't think so, I think it's particularly challenging for those who are advocating that to respond to the fact that we have spent many hundreds of billions of dollars tightening the border security on our southern border." (FOX5 Vegas, 1/6/16)

But When Campaigning In New Hampshire LastsYear, Which Has A Smaller Hispanic Population, Clinton Touted "Numerous" Votes During Her Time In The Senate "To Build A Barrier To Try To Prevent Illegal Immigrants" From Entering The U.S. During a town hall earlier this month in Windham, New Hampshire, Clinton gave a more conservative answer on immigration and controlling the United States' southern border. 'Well, I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,' Clinton said. 'And I do think you have to control your borders.' The comment was in response to a question about 'securing the Mexican border' and 'illegal immigrants that come in.'" (Dan Merica, "Clinton Says Her Use Of Term 'Illegal Immigrant' Was A 'Poor Choice Of Words,'" CNN, 11/24/15)

Over Just Two Days In 2014, Clinton Flip-Flopped On How To Handle Tens Of Thousands Of Unaccompanied Alien Children Arriving In The U.S.

During An Interview With NPR, Clinton Claimed She Was Open To Changing A 2008 Law In Response To The Border Crisis, Saying "I Think It Should Be Looked At As Part Of An Overall Package." QUESTION: "Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, is out with an op-ed calling for comprehensive immigration reform as you do, but saying that the law his brother signed, which passed when you were in the Senate in 2008, ought to be changed to make it easier to send those other than the 'deserving few' back to their home countries in Central America. Should that law be changed?" CLINTON: "I think it should be looked at as part of an overall package. We have two categories of people that are represented by these poor children that have come across our border. We have migrants, children who are leaving for a variety of reasons - economic, they want to reunite with family members. And we have refugees, people who have reason to be threatened, people who have bad probabilities if they return home as to what might happen to them." (NPR's "On Point," 7/24/14)

  • Clinton: "Our Laws Right Now Are Not Particularly Well-Suited For Making The Kind Of Determinations That Are Required, And That We Should, As Americans, Want To See Happen." CLINTON: "So we do need more resources very quickly deployed, which is what the president and the Democrats have asked for. We need some flexibility within the laws. Our laws right now are not particularly well-suited for making the kind of determinations that are required, and that we should, as Americans, want to see happen." (NPR's "On Point," 7/24/14)

During An Interview With Jorge Ramos, Clinton Switched Her Position, Claiming She Doesn't "Agree That We Should Change The Law." RAMOS: "Should we change the 2008 law? For quick deportations--"CLINTON: "No, I don't agree that we should change the law. No, that's why I'm advocating an appropriate procedure, well-funded by the Congress, which they are resisting doing, so that we can make individual decisions." (Fusion's "America With Jorge Ramos," 7/25/14)

The Washington Post 's "Plum Line" Headline: "Hillary Sharpens Up Stance On Border Crisis." (Greg Sargent, "Morning Plum: Hillary Sharpens Up Stance On Border Crisis," The Washington Post , 7/28/14)

  • "Clinton Came Out Against Any Changes To The 2008 Trafficking Law." "Speaking to Fusion's Jorge Ramos, Clinton came out against any changes to the 2008 trafficking law, which Republicans are seeking to expedite deportations of arriving minors as a condition for supporting any aid to address the debacle." (Greg Sargent, "Morning Plum: Hillary Sharpens Up Stance On Border Crisis," The Washington Post , 7/28/14)
  • Clinton Clarified Her Position On The Border Crisis, "In A Manner That, Intentionally Or Not, Sharpened The Contrast With The Position Of Most Republicans." "In a smart move, Hillary Clinton firmed up her position on the crisis in an interview that aired over the weekend - in a manner that, intentionally or not, sharpened the contrast with the position of most Republicans." (Greg Sargent, "Morning Plum: Hillary Sharpens Up Stance On Border Crisis," The Washington Post , 7/28/14)

Clinton Has Shifted Her Position On Undocumented Immigrants Obtaining Driver's Licenses

When Asked During A 2007 Debate About New York Governor Elliott Spitzer's Plan To Allow Undocumented Immigrants To Have Driver's Licenses, Clinton Was Unclear About Her Position. "Last debate cycle, Mrs. Clinton offered a confusing answer of whether she supported states issuing licenses to illegal immigrants. In the Oct. 2007 debate she was asked whether or not she favored then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to provide undocumented with state licenses. '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,' Mrs. Clinton said during the debate." (Kelly Riddell, "Hillary Clinton Flip-Flops From 2008 Positions In Bid For Liberal Voters' Support," The Washington Times, 10/12/15)

  • Governor Spitzer Later Revealed In A 2015 Interview That Clinton Campaign Contacted Him And Asked Him To Remove The Proposal. "But Clinton went further than opposing the plan, Spitzer revealed on 'The Axe Files,' a podcast hosted by David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama (who went on to defeat Clinton in 2008). In fact, the campaign asked Spitzer to drop the proposal altogether. Spitzer told Axelrod he yielded to that request, although heavy opposition from elsewhere also played a role. 'We heard from folks [on Clinton's campaign] who said they want this issue gone,' Spitzer said. 'I thought the issue was a metaphor for her vacillation.'" (Elise Foley, "Eliot Spitzer Says Hillary Clinton's 2008 Camp Urged Him Not To Give Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants," The Huffington Post , 10/29/15)

After Governor Spitzer Removed The Proposal, Clinton Explicitly Stated She Would Not Support Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Obtain Driver's Licenses. "After the debate - and after Mr. Spitzer withdrew the proposal because of its unpopularity - Mrs. Clinton made the following statement: 'As president, I will not support driver's licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration, including border security and fixing our broken system.'" (Kelly Riddell, "Hillary Clinton Flip-Flops From 2008 Positions In Bid For Liberal Voters' Support," The Washington Times, 10/12/15)

In April Of 2015, Clinton Said She Would Support Giving Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants. "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday spoke out in favor of giving driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, taking a firm stance on an issue that hurt her during the 2008 election after she seemed intentionally vague on her position." (Jose DelReal, "This Time, Hillary Clinton Supports Giving Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants," The Washington Post , 4/16/15)

  • Hillary's Campaign Expressed That Her Support Of Undocumented Immigrants Driver's Licenses Was Consistent With President Obama's Executive Actions. "'Hillary supports state policies to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. This is consistent with her support for the president's executive action,' a Clinton campaign spokesperson told The Washington Post Thursday." (Jose DelReal, "This Time, Hillary Clinton Supports Giving Driver's Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants," The Washington Post , 4/16/15)

In An Interview With David Axelrod, Governor Spitzer Said Clinton's Flip-Flop Was A "Metaphor For Her Vacillation." AXELROD: "Why do you think, what is it, why did she react that way?" SPITZER: "It was a politically tough issue. It didn't poll well. But there was no ambiguity about what was right, and if you look about where we are now as a nation on this very issue, very few people, it's the law of the land I think in California, a bunch, a slew of states, and it is not controversial because people know it's right and it works. But at the time, it was controversial, and because it was controversial, she hemmed and she hawed. And again, this was, this is goes to the core of where are you on immigrants' rights. And the President, not then the President, Senator Obama , now the President, gave an unambiguous answer, 'yes.' Now, the Clinton folks, as no doubt you remember, thought the issue was the problem, I thought the issue was a metaphor for her vacillation." (David Alexrold, "The Axe Files," 10/29/15)

Clinton Flip-Flopped On Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Receive Healthcare Benefits

In A 1994 Capitol Hill Hearing, Clinton Said That Undocumented Immigrants Should Not Receive The Same Benefits As American Citizens. CLINTON: "As to illegal aliens, we agree with you that the comprehensive health care benefits should not be extended to those who are un-documented workers and illegal aliens. We do not want to do anything to encourage more illegal immigration into this country. We know now that too many come for medical care, as it is. We certainly don't want them to have the same benefits that American citizens are entitled to have." (Committee On Energy And Commerce, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 9/28/93)

  • Clinton: "We Do Not Want To Do Anything To Encourage More Undocumented Immigration Into This Country. We Know Now That Too Many People Come In For Medical Care, As It Is." CLINTON: "As to illegal aliens, we agree with you that the comprehensive health care benefits should not be extended to those who are un-documented workers and illegal aliens. We do not want to do anything to encourage more illegal immigration into this country. We know now that too many come for medical care, as it is. We certainly don't want them to have the same benefits that American citizens are entitled to have." (Committee On Energy And Commerce, U.S. House Of Representatives, Hearing, 9/28/93)

In 2015, Clinton Said Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Able To Buy Into Obamacare. "Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that undocumented immigrants should be able to buy into ObamaCare, after telling Congress a decade ago that the population should not receive any healthcare benefits." (Sarah Ferris, "Clinton Shifts Stance On Healthcare For Undocumented Immigrants," The Hill, 10/13/15)

  • Clinton: "I Want To Support States That Are Expanding Healthcare And Including Undocumented Children And Others." CLINTON: "Well, first of all, I want to make sure every child gets health care. That's why I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program, and I want to support states that are expanding health care and including undocumented children and others. I want to open up the opportunity for immigrants to be able to buy in to the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act." (Hillary Clinton, CNN 2016 Democratic Primary Presidential Debate, Las Vegas, NV, 10/13/15)

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