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. JB Boston MA

    I'm no politician, but here is a PROBLEM with Clinton's plan, and a SOLUTION.

    First, when the illegals receive a license, they will be able to vote and purchase guns. NO THANK YOU CLINTON! I know you want those illegal votes from those illegal immigrants, but NO.

    The solution, make illegals get an ID that does not give them the right to drive. If an illegal is found wihtout this ID, they are automatically deported. If they have the ID, weren't committing a crime when found, there is a hearing to determine if they are upstanding citizens, no scratch that, humans. If they are, the ID is stamped with an expiration date. During the period of time up until the expiration date, they can pursue citizenship, and come out of the "shadows" that we hear so much about.

    Problem Solved

    November 4, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  2. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    No Joe, the intention is to implement security in our government. The opposition keeps throwing illegitimate issues like guns and voting in an attempt to prevent states from identifying who is here legally. I'm a registered voter with ample documentation to prove my status,but the Bush administration has re-defined the term "documented" to suit their purpose of denying legal residents their rights. The supreme court is about to hear arguments on the legality of voter ID laws that would take away my right to vote. There are 20 million more democrats than there are republicans,so it's no coincidence that there are an estimated 20 million supposedly "undocumented americans". This has to do with the ability of states to determine which people are citizens and which people are not,and the protection of the voting rights of lawful US citizens like myself who are being denied the rights of citizenship. The voting system in NYS relies upon cross-checking records,not the whim of corrupt political hacks in the SSA. No reasonable person could deny my existence with all the actual documentation I have. In conversations with SSA officials I've learned that there are millions of us and we make up the majority if not the entirety of these "undocumented americans" and that illegals do not fall into this category. Illegals are not american citizens,nor are they legal residents of our nation. Get your head out of the sand and push for security of our legitimate citizens.

    November 4, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Jane

    Ok1ahoma House Bill 1804
    Oklahoma has set the stage.
    Immigration reform
    This is the United States I remember.
    Give me back my home,my laws are not to be Broken.

    November 4, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Can anybody say – "STAGED"

    November 4, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. P, Buffao, NY

    i agree that we should try to document those who are here illegally to get them "into a system", but a driver's license is NOT the way. why couldn't a basic, non-driver's license suffice ? I do agree with the insurance correlation...just b/c they can drive, might not mean that they have adequate insurance, and that hurts other drivers. Furthermore, as a true US citizen, providing such a privilege is a slap in our faces, as we went through a process.

    November 4, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Ethan, Brooklyn, NY

    The total sum of ignorance on this board is absolutely astounding. Hillary will be our President, and THANKFULLY, this country will FINALLY have some domestic and international leadership. I know this is a difficult issue for people to understand - especially when you have numbnuts idiots screaming bloody murder to 'deport the illegals' - but anyone who can discern fact from fiction will realize that giving illegal immigrants will greatly benefit the city of New York in keeping track of the million people who are totally under the radar (a VERY important security measure) AND it will increasingly protect those who become victims of incidents involving undocumented individuals.

    This measure is NOT a benefit for illegals so much as it is SECURITY and PROTECTION for legal citizens.

    November 4, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    Ohhhh, so if illegals have licenses they would be compelled to also have insurance! I fail to see the connection. If doing what's legal made any difference to these criminals, the problem would not exist in the first place.
    Recently, my friend had an accident. She was hit broadside by a legal driver. Her car was totaled and neither her insurance nor the other driver's insurance is willing to pay for the covered damage. Let's see,,, both drivers are insured and the insurance companies refuse to settle any claims.
    This government has thrown us to the dogs at every level! So go ahead, license the illegals,,open a whole new world of fraud and cost to the few hapless Americans who continually pick up the tab.

    November 4, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    Here's a suggestion to all you Americans who need a break:

    Get a passport, go to Mexico,,,toss your passport in the trash,,,swim back across the border,,,sign up for every social program and perk you can think of,, keep saying for 10 years,,"no habla, no habla.

    Do this, and your responsibilities as a citizen will beso few as not worth mentioning.

    Thanks again Government!

    November 4, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Traci Robbins Jacksonville Fl

    I agree that something needs to be done. That something is to get illegals out of America. I work at a hospital and the self pay is massive. Who ends up paying for that. Americans do. Hilary will no do that. On June 6th there was a vote to make English the official language of the United States of America. Hilary voted NO! How dare she. This is America we speak english. Lets go to France and demand that English be the offical language. A vote for Hilary is a vote against America the land of english speaking people.

    November 4, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. Charles in Orem, Utah

    A lot of responders seen to have suggested mass deportation of illegals as the first step in fixing the problem. If we're talking about illegal Mexicans and sending them back to Mexico, that won't work. Many of those who HAVE been deported previously (usually following a criminal conviction) simply return to the porous border and re-enter the country within a few days or weeks, assume a new fake identity, and melt away into the undocumented underground.

    If we're going to get serious about deporting these people, who says they need to be sent at taxpayer expense back to their country of origin? I say deport them all to IRAQ, and solve two problems at once. One: deported persons who have broken the law by entering the US once will have a much harder time doing it a second time. Two: Iraqi culture would then have to find a way to assimilate an influx of 15-20 million Spanish speaking non-Muslims who are willing to "do the work ordinary Iraquis are not willing to do", thus dramatically altering the dynamics of Iraq's sectarian rivalries and offering a chance for more stability.

    I see a win/win here. Anybody?

    November 4, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. jmaya, iowa

    Immigration issue is not a black and white issue. If it is Obama and Edward they will say the way wind is blowing. Hillary knows it is tough issue and she wants it to be right so she need to do more consultation and discussion so she can't answer it in yes or no statement.

    Hill you are doing your best, continue to do it. There are some sick people who hate you and some are Barak Hussein OBama and Edward machine run Hilary haters. I will never vote these two men.

    November 4, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Mike, Londonderry NH

    It's very simple people...!

    Isn't it pretty obvious by now.. BOTH parties WANT illegal aliens to continue to flow into this country. As does biz that profit from cheap labor. As does the Catholic Church because most of the flow comes from Catholic Mexico.

    The American people are stuck in the middle. Until voices are seriously raised politicians and lobby groups will continue to back the steady flow of illegal aliens. It is the future voter base for BOTH parties and neither party wants to stop the flow.

    In the end America will be changed and taxpayers will be asked to fork over the $$$ – it's pretty clear which way this country is heading. Illegal Alien groups demand more..and more and the American people just sit in their homes and WATCH.

    November 4, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Uma, mpls, MN

    Except some sick people every one knows immigration is not a easy issue and no politician can answer in 30 seconds and yes no statement.

    Hill you are doing alright, continue to do it. We will defeat Edward and Barak Hussein Obama hate machine.

    November 4, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Turn out the lights, Hill, the party is OVER...

    November 4, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. Gary, NY

    I don't get it. Because some people got hit by unlicensed illegal immigrants so we are going to hand out license to all illegal immigrants as a solution. But there are more people got hit by licensed legal immigrants. What are we going to do about that? Are we going to take away licenses of all legal immigrants?

    November 4, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Mike , Panama City , FL

    Just because they use the word illegal immigrant driver , makes it seem like it is a much worst crime then a citizen hitting somebody

    It depends on the driver not the status of citizenship

    so are they now trieng to say that all illegal immigrants are bad drivers?

    ridiculous !

    November 4, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. PM Oldsmar,FL

    You all might be interested in this current Parade Magazine poll concerning whether Photo I.D. cards should be required to vote, which parallels this illegal immigrant issue being discussed here.

    November 4, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Dan, Mountain View CA

    From 160 posts I saw, 99% agree that illegal immigrants should never get tolerated. I absolutely agree that whoever has broken the law must never get amnesty. Deportation will be the right justice. Don't get fooled by any moral values such mother and kids or whatsoever.

    I'm just wondering from those of you who don't agree with illegal immigrants, why you are hiding? Show off your support, don't be silent! Speak out to this nation that every law must be enforced. Join in every anti illegal immigrants groups. Without your explicit supports, it will be hard for us to fight the illegal immigrants because the illegal immigrants will fight to their last drop of blood to get their rights in the US. So, the choice is with you, fellow Americans.

    November 4, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  19. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Keith,Greenville, Under the patriot act and regulations of homeland security, the SSA has been barred from using data from their own system from verifying identity. Even though I have a valid # and the original stub to prove it,they refuse to give me a new copy of my card,citing these regulations. Further, the DMV's are being barred from issuing licenses or county ID without a card from the SSA,citing the same regulations. Without a government issued ID,you cannot obtain a passport,fly,drive,bank, or even buy beer at shoprite. This entire corruption of our security is intended to enhance the voter ID laws to revoke the rights of citizens to vote. If I weren't wealthy and well known to my politicians,my life would be much more severely impacted. Luckily I don't need to sell my home,because I can't under these restrictions. Right now,it would be nice to re-finance out of an adjustable rate equity loan,but I'll survive. This situation is ludicrous as my fingerprints are on file. It's all just corrupt politics. The suggestion of leaving the country and sneaking back doesn't solve the problem. I've thought about that,I still couldn't access my assets. When they pass legislation to round us all up as "illegals" I might have to make that sacrifice to preserve my liberty. You can confirm my plight with Sen. Clinton's office. Every day I run to get my mail in hopes of getting a tiny piece of cardboard that would restore my citizenship. I think it's time for fingerprints instead. I hope that clears it up for you, it certainly doesn't make sense. Logic and reason seem to be lacking in our nation's security apparatus.

    November 4, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Robert G. Irvine, CA

    is the driver's license a "gift" or will the recipient pay a fee??

    Potential fees can add up to several million $$ for state coffers!!

    November 4, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. ray, madison, w.i.

    Another clintoon non-answer. Parse that sentence, hil!

    November 4, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Greg, Houston, Texas

    I can't believe this. The solution is not to give them any form of a license. The solution, if they are here ILLEGALLY, is to send them back to the country they came from to wait in line with the rest of the immigrants that want to come here. For right now it may be logistically difficult to go look for illegal immigrants, but if they compound their illegal status with ANY form of breaking the law and they fall in our hands, then they certainly need to be deported, except for certain crimes where they should be incarcerated here. Sending them back to their country is not a guarantee that they won't just come right back. And lets get those boarder sealed, come on guys. Who is in charge, the illegal aliens or the US Government? I am really fed up that our government is not addressing this issue. Why can't we start enforcing the laws?

    November 4, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Spitzer is insane. Clinton is insane. If you had to climb over a fence, crawl through a tunnel or hide in the back of a truck in order to get into this country you are not wanted here. Go back. And take Spitzer and Clinton with you. If this crap keeps up there will be civil war in this country.

    November 4, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. pbj, San Ramon, CA

    If illegals want a driver's license - or any other right or privilege of US citizenship - let them earn it with a two year stint in the armed forces. THAT should be their "path to citizenship" - earn some sweat equity in this country.

    November 4, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Gary, Detroit, Mich

    E-mail your comments to Eliot Spitzer at or in as much as that bonehead prefers our comments in writing, fax him at 518-474-1513.

    November 4, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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