November 4th, 2007
10:04 AM ET
10 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. Dan , Beverly, MA

    I don't understand why people like Shrillary want to turn our country into a 3rd world toilet. Why does anyone want that? ENFORCE THE LAWS THAT EXIST! It can be done. We need to use our millitary to round them up and have a mass deportation of all CRIMINALS ILLEGAL ALIENS. Screw being PC, this is our lives we are talking about here.

    November 5, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Kate, Aurora CO

    What makes some believe people so willing to disregard our laws to begin with, will comply with this law? I read a post that had a really good idea. Offer the drivers licenses or state identification as the first step towards a path to citizenship. They will get the license and then be notified at a later date regarding the next steps required, such as paying a fine and learning English, which if you are a legal citizen know this is required for legalization. If they do not comply with the steps, then deportation process should be initiated. If an illegal does not even begin the process with a license or state identification, deporation immediately. But before we can think about any of that our government needs to address our porous borders. It is not fair to the middle class who are being billed to provide free healthcare, free education etc, to people who have no respect for our country or our laws.

    November 5, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. RightyTighty

    "Jolliffe's actually my professor at Drake University"

    Surprise surprise. No it's no surprise to find another liberal activist professor shamelessly yelling support for open US borders. But using fussy math as the basis of that argument?
    God I hope this is not a statistics professor..

    November 5, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Chris McMahon, Palm Springs CA

    The federal government was created for the common defense not the common immigration reform. The federal government was empowered to protect us from invasion. It drives me up a wall to hear politicians say we need to do something when they cannot even do their jobs.

    November 5, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Mike, Gilbert AZ

    Why give them driver's licenses? Once you have a driver's license you can VOTE. It's round-a-bout way to get their illegal vote, it's getting to hard for them to round up the bums off the street and promise them cigarettes, cash then load them on the buses for the polling stations. Or sign up all those dead people.

    November 5, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. AJ, Chicago IL

    Posted By Ralph. Austin : November 3, 2007 10:16 pm

    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.

    Ralph, either you didn't see the entire debate or you are an idiot! While Hillary mumbled and stumpled her way to a convoluted answer, Tim Russert asked Obama straight out (during Obama's response that he was confused by Hillary's response) do you support the NY governor's proposal to require illegal immigrants to have driver's licenses? Obama's answer was "yes and I disagree with Senator Dodd, because it is a public safety issue". You may not agree with his response but at least he had the integrity and conviction to state what he believed. In fact, Tim Russert followed up this question with "does any of the other candidates think it is a good idea to require illegal aliens to have driver's licenses?" GUESS WHAT! All the other candidates acknowledged YES, except Dodd and Clinton. Dodd, I understand. He made his point as to why illegal immigrants should not have a driver's license. But Hillary ?! I believe it even more, that trusting what Hillary says and what she does is a major problem.

    November 5, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. 311 - LV, NV

    The liberals, and CNN are little punk's!!!

    November 5, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. KR carbondale, ill

    i was hit by a former illegal immigrant. by the time he became legal. he all ready had racked up 5 DUI charges, along with no insurance, and fleeing some accidents to be later caught. he could not get a licennes in my state. he did ask me about becomeing a truck driver. later that week the guy was picked up on drug charges. this guy lives down the street from me and is driving over the road in a triaxle truck for a coal mine. just wate till he hits you on the road.

    November 5, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Mary, Mountain View, CA

    Why are we making such a big stink about giving "illegals" drivers licenses because they supposedly crash their cars into people? Turns out US citizens are bad drivers too! How about we make EVERYONE test for their drivers license every 5 years? That'll keep ALL of the crazy, arrogant, holier-than-thou drivers (legal or not) off the streets, especially over here in Silicon Valley. I am SO tired of narrowly escaping accidents from jerkwads with BMWs who feel that they have the right of way at all times just because they work at Google.

    November 5, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Jen, Atlanta, GA

    Mrs. Clinton, if you give an illegal immigrant the privilege to have a drivers license, does that mean they have the privilege to vote for you too?
    You know you will need their votes. Ugh!

    November 5, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Elena,Miami, Florida

    Illegal is Illegal.... period.Buy Insurance ...what? Hillary is all about Hillary....we want HER to come out of THE SHADOWS. Living here in the 3rd world of Miami...All the Illegals care about is our MONEY AND THEIR WAY OF GETTING IT!!!!!

    November 5, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. Lousie, Wichita Falls, TX

    This was nothing more than a set-up by the Clinton group. We are losing our country and all they care about is getting illegal votes.

    November 5, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. Bill , Covington,LA

    All these people wanting to license illegale, can you guarentee me they are not rag-heads who have gotten phony mexican doccuments and are now here waiting in the shadows for the necessary items to be shipped in so they can collest them and blow up something. I can only hope that each and every one of you are at ground zero when it happens.

    November 5, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  14. Ron,

    The two speakers were obvioulsy shills. Fact is, ILLEGAL ALIENS will not get insurance. Does not matter if you have to show insurance coverage to get tags on vehical or not. The ILLEGAL ALIEN will get the insurance the day before and cancel the same day after having to show DMV they are covered. That is the scam.

    How in the heck can the government guarantee us that those people are who they say they are. I know I could pose as an ILLEGAL ALIEN and get a drivers license in a different name.

    November 5, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  15. Karen,ny


    November 6, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. Rose Hann New London, CT

    I live in CT and our Mayor in New Haven CT gave all illegals an ID card. We know who most of them are as a result. I understand Gov. Spitzer's notion, giving a license to illegals makes more sense, after you have had an accident with as unisured illegal. Most of them already have licenses through fruad, what's the difference?

    November 6, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Ann, Logansport, IN

    I suppose that no U.S. born citizen has been in accidents and had no insurance, and every citizen has health insurance?? Not! When a mexican becomes a terriost, let me know! I believe all terriost were and are here legally. Imagine that one. What happens to the produce industry if all the illegals are thrown out of this country? From a country that was built from illegal aliens we sure are nasty to others. Also what happens when we have a worse relationship with Mexico and they decide to let others into their country to get to us? Please think twice about all your judgements, they could come home to roost. Why not give drivers license to them? All the ones I know have insurance on their cars just not in their names because of not being able to get a license.

    November 7, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  18. CK, Arlington, VA

    Of course Hillary wants driver licensing of illegals. It opens the way for them to vote...Democrat, of course. The same reason she wanted to eliminate the Electoral College after the 2000 Presidential race.
    She wants America's population centers, which tend to be Democrat, to decide who is President. All you folks in the midwest don't tend to be Republicans anyway.

    I have more faith in our founding fathers than I do a Clinton. One last thing, let's just enforce our current laws on immigration.

    November 7, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Darrel Lone Rock Iowa

    To give a liscense to drive in America to an ILLEGAL ALIAN makes me wonder what sort interest she has in mind

    My interest are to deport the Illegal's and gain positive controll over our borders. Their is a legal way to come to AMERICA and that is regulate by laws and our Goverment Elected should enfore them or get out of the way and let someone in who will.

    This is what the VAST MAJORITY of LEGAL AMERICANS DEMAND. IT A CLER PICTURE AND YET THOSE IN WASHINGTON CHOOSE NOT TO ENFORCE OUR LAWS. Boy is it time to have a good house cleaning in Washington.

    November 8, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. j. bruce, houston, TX

    It would be nice to THINK that giving illegal aliens drivers licenses would in some way help. But it won't. The illegals would simply pass them around to all their friends. Only a few would ever bother to get licenses. Most - because of the childish, egocentric, magical thinking of their home countries - would not even be aware that there ARE laws for driving. As for purchasing insurance? Not even a consideration.

    So much for using drivers licenses to keep track of illegals, to get the poor things out of the shadows. One license for 20 men, roaming about, lying about their names and addresses?
    I don't think so.

    WE follow the rule of law. However, it would be a foolish, costly mistake to assume that giving illegal aliens licenses would make THEM suddenly follow the rule of law. After all, an illegal alien is here....illegally.

    So what WOULD the licenses accomplish? An undeserved feeling of entitlement, an affirmation of their growing larceny, a bit of reinforcement to go out and break ANOTHER rule or law, and the opportunity to use that license to obtain other documents and make credit card purchases they have no inclination whatsoever to pay for.

    The only other major outcome of providing drivers licennses to illegal aliens comes in the form of inadvertently providing breeder documents for those who have snuck into our country not so much to commit fraud as to commit terrorism. Something to think about the next time you board a plane.

    November 10, 2007 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  21. Liz Tulsa ok

    Respond of the Comment " Dont pay taxes".. When they shop at the store justlike you and me.. they pay taxes.. they dont get away just because they are illegal.. there is only a small portion who get paid under the table.. but there is millions and millions who work with a social security( might be some one elses number) get taxes deducted and never file a claim. Now where does that money go to? Not to another country it stays here in the U.S! We have a bigger problem with the way in Iraq but some of you numbskulls just dont understand

    November 18, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  22. santiago, portland Oregon

    you know what's funny about this.... i've been living in the states for about 11 years as undocumented person (not my choice) cause my mom brought me here illegally and kicked me out of her house and she never fixed my status, i have to work otherwise i'll starve to death..but umm i have never encounter an angry american in my path, by the contrary, every person i've met in the U.S has been kind to me and helped me so much and now i wander why there's so many people hidding in the net and radio shows talking so bad about ilegal persons..why? i know everyone say " well they are welcome here but if they come legally" you know when's that going to happen? never!!

    December 3, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  23. Jessica, North Plainfield, NJ

    Personally, I am sick of people complaining so much about illegal aliens. Instead of just trying to deport all of illegal aliens they should see who are an advantage to the US. It's true that some illegal aliens are doing nothing to help the US. I believe the illegal aliens are trying to make something of themselves and go to school should be left alone. Everyone always says that immigrants are a problem. I have a question to ask everyone: Where do you all think you came from? There is no such thing as a white or black person. "White" people originate from other countries whose parents migrated to the US. Hello!! As for "black" people they also originate from different countries. The statements that people make sometimes are just ridiculous. What we really need to focus on is better schooling because everyday schools get worse. Drugs and alcohol are always circulating in school somehow. When I was in high school many of students came to school high.(I'm Puerto Rican, female,19) (Sorry it was long) Take care all.

    December 4, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. lou ny,ny

    Boy she really water the plants on this one.

    December 8, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  25. AJ J

    Liz Tulsa defends illegals as paying taxes and working 'honestly' (?) and says 'they might be using someone else's social security number') then goes on to defend 'oh at least that way they're paying taxes'. HONEY, have YOU ever had YOUR social security number STOLEN AND USED by one of these upstanding people? As someone who HAS, believe me, it's a NIGHTMARE. The person they found out was doing it drives an SUV and was buying into 'the American Dream' on MY identity. Then they started messing up, and WHO did they come after? Who ended up getting really in trouble with credit companies and info bureaus? Not that person. ME. So remember, stealing and using someone's social security number is REALLY REALLY SERIOUS FOR THE PERSON THEY STEAL IT FROM. Before you wax philosophical about 'a better life' think about the person's life that they are destroying.

    December 23, 2007 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
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