Hillary Clinton to call for ‘full and equal’ path to citizenship

At a Tuesday roundtable in Nevada, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will call for comprehensive immigration reform amounting to “nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship”:

Clinton will cast immigration reform as a family issue, an aide said Tuesday, and will focus on the need to find a legislative fix, strengthen the United States border and bring “millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity.”


Clinton will say Tuesday “that we cannot settle for proposals that provide hard-working people with merely a second-class status,” the aide said, noting a subtle knock against Republican hopefuls — like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — who have backed legalization efforts but not full citizenship.

The appearance will be Clinton’s opening salvo on immigration, not her detailed policy rollout, the aide added. That won’t come until late summer or early fall.

According to Census data, Nevada is 30% Hispanic, making it the first early state with a significant Latino population. Notably, Clinton has performed even better than Barack Obama did in 2008 with Hispanic voters. However, immigration reform is the largest driving issue for the Hispanic voting bloc — and Clinton’s record on immigration policy is hardly desirable:

Providing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants led to one of the biggest gaffes of her failed 2008 campaign when, at a primary debate, she took both sides of the issue in the span of a few minutes. Clinton’s 2016 campaign looked to clean up that issue early, telling reporters last month that Clinton “supports state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.”

After her 2008 gaffe, Clinton responded by forcefully calling for immigration reform, pledging to enact a pathway to legalization — not citizenship — in her first 100 days of office.

But after losing in 2008 and spending four years separated from domestic politics as secretary of state, Clinton was confronted by an array of new immigration issues on her 2014 book tour and midterm election blitz.

At the Iowa Steak Fry, activists confronted her about undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents. At an event in Maryland, waves of protestors heckled and taunted the former secretary of state. And at a fundraiser for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, protestors chanted “undocumented, unafraid” at she spoke.

She didn’t impress the activists with her answers, either. Laura Martin, communications director for Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said activists were disappointed when Clinton told an undocumented immigrant in Iowa that the way to help on the issue was to “elect more Democrats.”

Combine this with the fact that Hillary’s husband Bill was the strictest president in modern political times on the issue of immigration, and the case can definitely be made that she’s only pandering to what Hispanic voters want to hear without any real concrete plan in place.