November 4th, 2007
10:04 AM ET
11 years ago

Drivers hit by illegal immigrants speak to Clinton

Clinton spoke in Des Moines Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - At least two people spoke up in front of Hillary Clinton on Saturday in support of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, an issue Clinton said relates to a larger problem "we have to solve."

The senator from New York had just finished speaking to a group of Polk County, Iowa, field staff in Des Moines and was getting ready to leave the room when Clinton supporter Lee Jolliffe started yelling over the crowd noise.

"There are two of us here," Jolliffe said, "who have been hit by those unlicensed drivers. It's not a privilege, it’s a protection."

Jolliffe was pointing out that drivers who can have licenses are more likely to have insurance.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Clinton responded. "I appreciate you raising that because, you know, the federal government has failed. The federal government has failed, and states are trying to figure out what to do."

She continued, "But two people right in this room have been hit, have been hit by people who are here and undocumented."

That prompted one man to shout, "More than two!"

"More than two," Clinton replied. "So, you know, at some point we have to solve this problem because we're seeing all sorts of consequences. So thank you for being a witness to that. Thank you."

Jolliffe later told CNN she wanted to give Clinton an opportunity to defend herself on the issue, one that created some heat at Tuesday night's debate.

Asked about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's controversial plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Clinton said it "makes a lot of sense" but stopped short of endorsing the plan.

"We want to know who's in New York," she said. "We want people to come out of the shadows."

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, claimed Clinton's answer was inconsistent. And Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, called the plan "troublesome," adding that "a license is a privilege, and that ought not to be extended, in my view."

Sen. Barack Obama later said, "Senator Clinton left us wondering where she stood on every single hard question from Iran to Social Security to drivers' licenses for undocumented workers."

-CNN's Chris Welch and Steve Brusk

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Jeff, Phoenix, AZ

    This is crazy. So if the illigals had licences they wouldn't have hit the people??

    Licences will just give the illegals more of a sense of entitlement and easier access to OUR resources.

    November 3, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  2. Kim, Peabody MA

    ILEGAL IS ILEGAL!! Instead of handing out licenses to illegal aliens, we need to enforce our laws and deport them when identified. This is ridicules! We Don’t pick and chose what laws we enforce within this nation. Both Hillary and Obama also voted to give Ilegal Aliens our social security benefits as well!

    Check out Pete Grasso’s Plan for the illegal immigration problem facing this nation! I have not heard ONE good plan from any other candidate jockeying for the Presidency!

    November 3, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  3. RC Roanoke VA

    Nice "plants" by the Clinton campaign to try and recover from the disaster of her canned debate performance. Obama and Edwards are far better....

    November 3, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    There are aproximately a million people that are "undocumented" in NYS and we have no idea what they're status is. I happen to be one of them. I don't appreciate having my rights taken away and treated like I'm an illegal. I was born here and I own property,pay taxes, and have a family. Because Homeland security has corrupted the social security office and forced millions of americans to be re-classified as "undocumented", we are being shut out on the basis,likely, of political affiliation. NYS needs to verify our identity because we are not being counted. Only then will we know who is legal and who is not. I want my fingerprints to be my identity. This Bush administration is not the "decider" of who is an American. They do not have the right to revoke my citizenship or deny me a government issued ID.

    November 3, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Lisa, Memphis, Tennessee

    Yes, if illegals had insurance then that would help the victums. This is assuming they would have insurance which is a big assumption. But isn't a better point that if the illegals hadn't been in the country in the first place then the accident wouldn't have happened?

    November 3, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Maria, Los Angeles

    They were plants.

    November 3, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  7. Jason, St Louis, Missouri

    ...only in America...

    Can you imagine any other nation out there that would permit me to sneak into their country without permission or documentation and receive from the country any sort of government ID, much less a license to drive? It doesn't make any sense.

    If you want them to "come out of the shadows," give them some sort of legal status (not necessarily citizenship). If you want them to stay indefinitely, grant them citizenship. If you want to discourage more from coming, fine their employers. Enough of this disgusting wishy-washy Clintonian fence-sitting. I may not like the Republican Party or its candidates, but at least I know where they stand, and I'd vote for them over someone like Clinton.

    November 3, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. Matt Jonson, Alpharetta GA

    Hillary "sellout" Clinton, or any politician for that matter, rally doesnt give a hoot about the illegal alien problem. They have the luxury of armed gaurds, professional drivers, and gated communities to live in thus insulating them from the problem. It's us taxpaying suckers that bear the brunt of the illegal alien consequences.

    November 3, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. Milly, Atlanta, GA

    Its common sense to take measures that protect Americans even when its unpopular at face value.
    Obama stated it outright, didn't need to test and pander with opinion polls.

    November 3, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. Lacy Palm Springs, CA

    Why can't people understand that illegal immigration is ILLEGAL and therefore they do not have rights! Once we start giving out drivers license's to illegals, what's next... giving them voting rights. Basically they'll have everything we have but they still won't have to pay taxes!!

    November 3, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. Ralph. Austin

    Exactly where does Senator Obama stand on the drivers license issue. He didn't say at the debate. Of course, he also doesn't vote in the Senate when it mighe be difficult later either. The spineless gentleman from Illinois.

    November 3, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Nick, Eden Praire MN

    Let's see if I get this straight, they believe that if we give them licenses for free, people who are already breaking the law will spend their money to buy insurance? What kind of fantasy world do these people live in? The correct response is to secure our boards and come down hard on people who hire these people, not help them get jobs.

    November 3, 2007 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. Derek, Phoenix, AZ

    So giving illegals licenses will make them get insurance? Huh?

    November 3, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. Bob, Mobile AL.

    I am not racists at all but I think all the fuss about illegals still stems from the problem they broke the law. I myself had my license taken away for no insurance and I wish I had not but I am paying for brakeing the law and I think they should as well. My license was suspended until im done paying off my fines. Why am I being punished and they are not I dont understand I wish I could become an illegal so i do not have to worry about breaking the law and having to pay for my crimes.

    November 3, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. Marko, Portland, OR

    Maddam President is so smart, everytime I think I have figured her out, she impresses me with more. I love her. Give them hell Hillary!! You are the one that can win!! And will win!

    November 3, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  16. Jerry Weed CA.

    We would not have this problem if they would enforce the laws.

    No need to give drivers lic. just secure the border and enforce the law

    Remember if you vote for a democrat you are voting to give illigals citizenship

    November 3, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. jam,nyc,ny

    ya right clinton! You are talking to American people the same people who will go to vote and I think this issue will eat you up to the finish!
    Lou you need to be on clinton on this issue!

    November 3, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. J. McKinney SW MO

    Many of the questions Senator Clinton is being critisized about for not answering yes or no, are questions that no one CAN honestly give a yes or a no answer to. Many things aren't black or white, like the drivers licenses to illegals. Certainly they shouldn't be given licenses because they are a privilege, but on the other hand, it would be a way to identify them. She is right on with her answers, and is intelligent enough, and responsible enough, to know there is more than one side to many of the problems she will face when she becomes president. Rather than just saying something to satisfy someone who in many cases isn't intelligent enough to understand what they are asking, she is being as honest as she knows how, on these difficult questions.
    Hillary for president!! We need her.

    November 3, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  19. Joan,Boston,ma

    I am sick and tired of this woman. I think he think convectionally as obama puts it. They have created an issue in New york that we can debate on now. There are many issue left aside. Remember we have men and women in IRaQ dying. That isn't an issue anymore miss president!!!
    You know what you are just Dean in a woman Dress and laughing a laugh that makes me left wondering if you need some mental check up just like we need to do to G.W.Bush!

    November 3, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  20. judd,manchester,NH

    Ralph from texas, Get your facts right! Obama was informed in the evening there will be a vote on Iran tommorrow. Tell me how he could have gone to washington just for that vote?
    How could he have cancelled the campaign that people are waiting already? On illegal immigration issue, Stop spinning the fact that he aswered so well that he wouldn't give illegal immigrants drivers licences. John Edward too said he wouldn't. Now tell us what else dear because we listened to that debate. I just Think Clinton is getting it wrong on this one and will see what will happen. It i not about insurances it is about who is getting the licence when they come here and their driving habits. Can you immagine how many accidents will happen in a day, because the system is easier for most of them?

    November 3, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  21. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Illegal Aliens in the U.S. should be DEPORTED at once. There should be NO SANCTUARY CITIES...what is THIS?...NOR should these people be allowed to receive a Legal Document known as a Driver's License....What is THIS? The Next Law that should be enacted to Protect this Country is one that STATEs: There will be NO Sanctuary Cities OR States that Protect Illegal Aliens. Oklahoma has it RIGHT! Legal Citizens of the U.S. should not have to Fight to get Illegal Aliens DEPORTED. IT's AGAINST THE LAW TO BE IN THE U.S. ILLEGALLY. THIS IS A FEDERAL LAW...AND SHOULD BE AUTOMATICALLY ENFORCED. Hillary wants to give them ALL AMNESTY...she has said so. Hillary Clinton doesn't have a 'clue' about the crime and horror that these Illegal Aliens create or how they RUIN CITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS. NOT A CLUE!

    November 3, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  22. BajanLuv, Newport News, VA

    Ralph, Austin:
    Were you watching the debate? Obama did answer the question. So using his not showing up for a vote to help Hillary. This is about Hillary's answer. He is not the only one that miss votes and I am sure that he will answer for that. So for now: Where does Hillary stand on this iisue. Her supports are sounding more and more like her every day–clones!!!!

    November 3, 2007 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  23. jack,nyc,ny

    Obviously, There will be total massacre in the country because most of these people didn't drive in their countries and now they will be driving here which makes me wonder how they will be able to do that safely without causing so many accidents. I want to feel safe when driving!!!

    November 3, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. Peter,sanfrancisco,ca

    I think the insurance companies and motor industry is funding clinton campaign and this is why she is saying this. Why didn't she propose this when she was a senator in NY...OOOOh I forgot it is all political then I will be left less safe on the road.

    November 3, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. Tom

    Without a drivers license, they shouldn't be driving in the first place.

    November 3, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11