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. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    Forcing illegal aliens or legal residents to secure insurance that they cannot afford in order to get a license does not work. They just cancel the insurance the next day. This has been the expirience of every State in the Union. You need an real time online system that cancells the persons licence illegal alien or legal resident the second the insurance is cancelled.

    November 3, 2007 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  2. Sue, Baltimore, MD

    Let me get this straight–these illegals are driving w/o licenses and they are the victims?? And if we give them licenses, that will miraculously prevent them from being involved in accidents? How about this: If they weren't here illegally in the first place, they wouldn't be here to be involved in any accident–that's a guarantee. And by the way–here in MD, illegals are allowed to obtain driver's licenses. My husband watched as an American citizen was turned away at the Motor Vehicle Admin. He couldn't get a license b/c he did not have two pieces of mail sent to his address, proving he is a MD resident. However, immediately after he was sent away with no license, a non-English speaker comes to the window and had no government identification–nothing. The MVA employee, after trying out her limited Spanish on this person who told her he "forgot" his green card at home, promptly issued him a driver's license on the spot. He wasn't sent away to retrieve his imaginary green card. So there you have it. If you want to obtain a fraudulent ID, pretend you are someone who doesn't speak English–pretend you are an "undocumented" person. Come to MD, all! To anyone thinking that I am a racist: I come from an immigrant family. Our family chose to come here legally and then serve this country, not drain the country's resources.

    November 4, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  3. deb

    to keep illegals here then they need to do something,send them back,if there not willing to keep there money here instead of going to kmart to send 500 dollars or more to mexico,make them buy insurance,pay taxes,I was in line there were 4 illegals they sent lotts.i guess you dont have to show id when you send,they didn't.naturally they spoke spanish.

    November 4, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. Allan, San Francisco CA

    Go ahead for Clinton. If you want to see a real mess...let her be president. This was such a staged act my third-grader would have done a better job. I hope for this country, Bloomberg runs as an Independent. 4 years of Hilary will ruin America.

    November 4, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  5. sierra, sf

    judd,manchester,NH : November 3, 2007 10:52 pm

    Obama is in favor of giving licenses to illegals. Edwards is in favor. (Though surprisingly in the debate neither had the guts to say it outright, they were busy following Clinton).

    So what's the problem when Hillary is in favor of this? It is not a simple issue so Hillary was sharing the various aspects of the problem. But I guess the debate was planned not to give her enough time to explain an important issue like this.

    Dont have double standards when it comes to jumping on Clinton just because you hate her.

    November 4, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  6. Jed in Texas

    Great!now "Bush lite" has hired actors for the audience.People get real, this whole election is being staged before your very eyes.Its already over!The powers behind the scenes know exactly what they are doing and that is the real I.D ACT. They want everyone tracked!Your voting is pointless when you dont even have a paper trail and they control the computor systems that you use to vote on.They are happy keeping you fighting amongst your selves,thinking you actually make a difference. I think they want the Illegals so they can be drafted for the next War ,just after the elections...WarIII

    November 4, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. Al

    What's the big deal about giving licenses to illegals? It was common in FL until after 9/11 and a few states and give them. I am all for it, give them the licenses. It will be a boost for the economy because many will buy cars and insurance. I AM ALL FOR IT!! Also I don't want to be rear ended by one with no license and insurance.

    November 4, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. bee, ny

    Susan and BejanLuv,

    I am curious to know what was Obama's answer to giving driver's license to illegals?

    November 4, 2007 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  9. B.F

    This shows Hillary is an un-American loon. Giving illegals ANY citizen benefits is insane.

    November 4, 2007 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  10. Vincent, Santa Rosa CA

    Why is everyone with political power dodging the obvious answer??

    The answer is not to license ILLEGAL immigrants, doing so will just reinforce the bad behavior! You don't give a bad kid a cookie for doing the wrong thing?

    The only answer that will send the message is deportation with the promise of imprisonment if they return without proper clearance. If a new law must be passed then do so.

    November 4, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  11. Mrs. America

    If you were somewhere illegally, would you present yourself to the authorities?

    November 4, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  12. Austin Rehdd, New Brunswick, NJ

    Hahahahaha...what a soap opera. So Clinton is really this scared, eh? To go as far as to have campaign staffers pose as "supporters" who want to support her on the driver's license issue? These were obvious staged...sheesh.

    Obama has my vote..this woman is so fake and manufactured.

    November 4, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  13. Dan Shockley

    Clinton and like are misleading Americans with this licenses for illegals issue. What we need to accomplish is getting all illegals out of the US and back in their own country. They can apply for visas to work in the US from their own country. Most politicians (R/D) only want votes, they have no interest or concern for the damage they will leave behind. I can only hope that more Americans will wake up and realize what damage these politicians are doing to the US...and the world.

    November 4, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  14. Alyssa, Santa Barbara, CA

    I think that if you are an illegal, you should be deported. and not just mexican illegals, but people from ALL countries who have entered the U.S. illegally. Also, everyone needs to do a little research to see how many accidents involving illegals have been reported as opposed to accidents involving U.S. citizens. I'm sure there are PLENTY of Americans who drive without licenses, dont have insurance, etc. I was in an accident here in California and the man who hit me didn't have insurance, but he had two babies in his car and tried to get MY insurance to pay. I think the majority of people are just greedy and lazy when it comes to certain things.

    November 4, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  15. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Who's fueling this issue and why are you at CNN helping. The Ann Coulter statement recieved 2856 responses more than all the responses you received in any week. Perhaps Coulter being a conservative and the general media agenda is greatly influenced by the conservative media, her comments if not anti-Semitic was insulting to the Jewish religion, quietly went away.

    November 4, 2007 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. Ken, San Diego, CA

    Tim Russert asked, "Does anyone here NOT think illegal immigrants should get a license". The ONLY one who raised his hand was Dodd. For all you people now trying to use this as a wedge issue, guess what, both Obama and Edwards AGREE with Clinton!

    November 4, 2007 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  17. Vicente Zephyrhills,FL

    By what logic does giving a drivers license to an illegal alien make them a better driver or citizen? Most of them are scofflaws at the very least. Why not chauffeur them around? That way they can travel to the jobs they took from our kids in style. Hillary Clinton lost my vote when she refuses to admit the the mess left behind by the Clinton Administration.

    In this town the illegals have already killed two people on the road driving DUI. They don't care if they have a license or not. They think they are ENTITLED to a free ride. I have been told to my face that they are above the law and can do whatever they want here.

    Shame on the United States. Shame on the Democratic Party. Close the borders to lawbreakers and criminals. Send the drug dealers back to the place that spawned them.

    I am a heretic... US citizens come first.

    November 4, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  18. pw Tulsa,OK

    These folks were obvious PLANTS.
    If they had a lic they still would of been hit. Then they say if they had a lic they would have insurance,,a licence does not require insureance,,,in some states you cannot get a lic PLATE unless you have insurance,but then they all get the minimum coverage,,show the proof of insurance at the time,,,,,,,,,,then they DROP the coverage and run down the road and hit you with NO INSURANCE..thats how it works folks. I did not think folks in IOWA could be so naive.,,but they are very much so.
    Can they get a licence in Japan or mexico or any place on the planet,,hell no,,,,,,but they think illegal mexicans should have them here. This is the spineless class in America.

    November 4, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. Jackson, Morongo Valley, CA

    Unlike Obama and Edwards, at least Clinton has spoken about the issue of drivers licences for illegals ... neither of them have taken a stand one way or the other. And for Iran, how can anyone say now what they will do over a year from now when the situation with Iran could change drastically in the interim? It is foolishness and unfair of Obama to perpetuate this nonsense as a legitimate negative of Clinton.

    November 4, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. Rodney Dallas, TX


    Obama has missed 80% of the votes since September. He's not doing his job. What makes you think he'll do his job if he gets elected president.

    November 4, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. Baron New York NY

    HNN Hitler News Network. You tell 'em CNN. Posting what you want to control.

    November 4, 2007 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  22. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    She still leaves me wondering where she stands on this issue. When she answered the two people, she blamed the Federal government, but didn't say what she would do about it. That's all that Hillary has done...blame Bush and others but not have an answer for how to solve the problems. I believe she would be worse than Bush himself if she got in for President.


    November 4, 2007 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  23. deroy WPB, FL

    once that you start issuing drivers licenses and giving amnesty there will be no end.

    this shirt sighted venture will bankrupt the united states as we know it.
    social security (SSI), medicare/medicaid will ahve to be rationed.

    of course clinton and other sdon't care becuase they got "theirs".

    i don't know where these people think their kids and grandchildren will live.

    we are currently in chapter one of being a third world nation. soon we will begin paying for oil in euros. you can the the republicans and democrats for wrecking the country.

    oh, jeep planting those fools at your 'rallies'. no one can see through that.

    November 4, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  24. Rick, Kansas City, MO

    If they don't respect our laws for immigration, why would they respect the laws for maintaining insurance?

    No respect for the law.

    The two "concerned citizens" were likely planted. It's a "vast left-wing conspiracy", to be sure.

    November 4, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  25. Randle Bate - Woodland Hills, CA

    If Hillary Clinton wasn't so eager to please those she perceives as a voting base, (They're not; they can't vote. Maybe she would consider the fact that once the illegal aliens have a drivers license as they have to do is go to the closest gun store; then they can buy a gun. These people have already shown they have no respect for the law. What does Clinton want, a gun battle at the OK corral?R

    November 4, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
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