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. my911call, North Carolina

    I work with illegal immigrants on the state level.
    Millions are already driving with out licenses.
    Right now if the police stop them, they can give any name or address and just get a ticket and be on their way.
    If your state is not along the border with Mexico, it cost hundreds/thousands of dollars and tons of paper work to deport some one, not including the possibility of putting children into social services.
    And that's only if they are Mexican. Less other countries where deportation means flying them far beyond Mexico.
    Many are from across the Atlantic, via over stayed visas.
    Financially it makes more sense to document illegal ID's with licenses, but still allow immediate deportation for those who break the law.
    Licenses protect American drivers (meaning you) by having the illegals pay and hold car insurance.
    I am a strong fiscal conservative.
    We can not let our passion over-ride logical spending when dealing with this problem.

    November 4, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. Chuck Woolery, Chicago

    Um..what broke-a*ss tomato picker, drywall taper, or hedge trimmer, who sends most of his or her check back to that person's country of origin after paying rock-bottom rent for the cheapest lodgings they could possibly find, will buy car insurance? Maybe we should pay for them! After all, for those millions who can afford minimum liability coverage, the kind of coverage that would pay for damage in real accident with a real American is totally unaffordable to the illegals, no matter what. You and possibly the state would still be picking up the bills, costing everyone tens of millions. In addition serious accidents with plaintiffs seeking large damage amounts from coverted illegals will ultimately be resolved by the illegals' packing up, selling off the assests, and forwarding their earnings home, where they will join it shortly. The fact that this is being discussed at all demonstrates that Democrats aren't involved in politics these days; they're involved in prostitution. Please remind your Democratic friends to take their medication and put their pants on before leraving the house in the morning.

    November 5, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  3. marilyn t , boston ma

    If Hillary ultimately gets elected, I look forward to the pundits lambasting her every day the way they do with bush. That's the ONLY thing I look forward to with her presidency IF she gets elected. and that's a big IF.

    November 5, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  4. Eric Nowak, Naperville IL

    The State of NY wil now allow illgals to vote and buy handguns. With a driver's license, they will also be able to buy regulated materials at chemical and biological lab suppliers. They'll be able to take out more loans then they are able to now, allowing them to further their lives here at the expense of even more Americans. Spitzer should be pilloried in public.

    November 5, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  5. G Kelly -Phoenix, az.

    Does anyone else smell the fish ?!!!!

    November 5, 2007 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  6. Teri, W. Orange, NJ

    I hope someone arrests the illegal who posted below. You are not a citizen, you do not get to decide what the law is, and who cares if you pay property taxes. We cannot handle the 40 million illegals that are currently diseasing and invading our shores. Don't believe the 10-20 million lie. It's atleast 40 if not more. YOu think traffic is bad now? You think ERs are bad now? Just wait til G-d forbid Sir Rodham-Clinton gets into office and lets those who have no loyalty to our country become legal and import their families! Hope no one is eating in restaurants with illegal (mostly likely Mexican 80% of illegals are!) workers! Illegal workers have not been screened for security or health! Ask yourself if you feel like dying soon. You're playing Russian Roulette with your self and your loved ones every time you breath next to an illegal or eat from a plate that has been touched by one! Don't believe me? Look up Chagas.... Look up TB, Polio, Leprosy, Hepatitis! Think those diseases are gone or have vaccines? Nope. they are now untreatable and DEADLY! You can thank illegal Mexicans and (some) illegal Chinese for their return! Phillipines has exported something like 20% of their country here... That is the new world solution for poor countries... Kick out the worthless to make money and suck America dry, so they can send money back home and not put a strain on their own resources... Think Prisons are over crowded? 1/4 of inmates are illegals here for violent crimes... They are murdering, robbing and raping Americans and Legal citizens everywhere they go!

    Watch this It's based on undisputed biased research by demographers. It shows the scary realities of the population illegal explosion on our land! Not to mention it keeps other lands in poverty, and denies Black Americans the ability to get hire wages. The only racists are supporters of Illegal Alien Invaders!

    November 5, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  7. Hank Mitzelblick

    Hey Colin742, how can you type with your head up your rectum? Are you a Hillary bootlicker? The arguments of the anti-illegal crowd make the Democrats shake in all their retarded, race-baiting, illogical glory. YOU need to go to NumbersUSA or and get an education on immigration. Be sure to put your pants on before you leave your mom's basement tomorrow morning.

    November 5, 2007 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  8. Hilary, Rochester NY

    Why do otherwise normal people become wackos when they hear the words "illegal immigrant"? I mean, I get that illegal immigration is a serious problem and everything, but...they'll bankrupt Social Security if we give them driver's licenses? We should deport them all to Iraq? CIVIL WAR??? From what I've read on this board, a lot of you could use an evening at home with a couple of Ativan and some pan flute music. Seriously.

    Illegal immigration is the problem–not illegal immigrants. We have illegal immigrantion because: We have an ass-backwards immigration policy that makes it prohibitively costly, intrusive, frustrating, and often futile to try to immigrate to the U.S. legally; a fantasy that we can realistically seal a 1,800 mile border against illegal immigration; business interests drooling over the prospect of a $2/hr labor pool, and federal authorities willing to wink at the practice of hiring illegals. Illegal immigrants wouldn't be illegal if it we had an immigration policy that was coherent, efficient, and navigable. There wouldn't be illegal immigrants if the only work available was for people legally present, and if employers who hired illegals were heavily fined and sanctioned to the extent that none of them would ever risk it. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in this country are people whose presence here would be an asset to the United States, not a burden as many of you seem to believe, but for our incredibly wrong-headed immigration policy.

    You all have been seriously duped, meanwhile. Someone high up finally figured out you're pissed off, and identified a convenient scapegoat for you in the illegal immigrant. A couple of people here have tried to point out the basic errors in the anti-immigration talking points, and have tried to explain how kicking everyone out and building a big fence is a completely hare-brained plan, but right away it's back to the same absurdities about bankrupting social security and taking our jobs away, and the calls for a house-to-house kick-in-the-door round-up scenario.

    Believe me, I was all ready to roll my eyes at Hillary Clinton's remarks during the debate. Then I actually read them. Not only were they blunt and straightforward, but they actually provided a much better explanation for Spitzer's licensing plan than Spitzer himself gave. States are frustrated. They are NOT the federal government and enforcing immigration laws is NOT within their purview. Regulating the operation and insurance of motor vehicles, and the conduct of their drivers, IS. Congress has not passed immigration reform, has not figured out what to do about the 13 million illegal immigrants present in the country, and has not figured out what the enforcement plan will be going forward. Meanwhile, the states have a job to do, and are being told that they can't do it because they might inadvertently violate the REAL ID Act or extend some sacred driving privilege to illegal immigrants. I have no question about Mrs. Clinton's position on this–it's "what the hell do you want Governor Spitzer to do while we're in Washington squabbling about how high we should build the wall on our border with Mexico?"


    November 5, 2007 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  9. Barbara Hayward, Ca

    Those people were plants, wake up people the Clintons will do anything to cover up, finagle and win. Just sickening.

    November 5, 2007 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  10. David, San Diego, USA

    I'm a one-issue voter, and that issue is the invasion ... of the United States by illegal aliens. Any politician who would do anything OTHER than send them all home will have to make do without my vote, or my monetary support.

    November 5, 2007 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  11. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Teri,W.Orange-Thank you for so perfectly describing your nazi agenda to declare as many legal US citizens as possible "illegal" in order to protect your future holocaust. We know all about your infantile plan. I'm sure the RNC is quite pleased that you outed them so well. Treason against our nation is a serious crime and I'm sure the FBI is on to you now. Maybe you'd like it in Mexico,at least you might be free there. I happen to be well known to law enforcement and every agency is on my side,not yours.

    November 5, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  12. Tom,Lake Placid,NY

    In order to license a car in NY and other states. (I hope) you need to prove you have insurance on the vehicle. And have a drivers license?Until the bigger picture of illegal immigration is sorted out these band-aid fixes don't do much except give political adversaries something to debate and point fingers at. And voters to be confused on. Too much attention to details and no answers to the larger picture/problem. The real concern is are you for or against illegal immigrants staying or being booted. Until we fix the fence or enforce the laws, all we do is create fodder for the politicians to confuse us. Someone already said that there are two sides to every question. (maybe more) Complex problems take complex solutions and we want an instant answer. Don't we all know by now that nothing happens quickly in our gov'tment.

    November 5, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Bobbie, Ky

    This is not about letting illegals, drive!
    It's about having them vote in our elections, to cancel out citizens' votes.

    November 5, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. Robert Cadalso NYC, NY

    12 states grant driver license to illegal aliens. It is the best for security. If people don't want this, then they should DEMAND that 12 million illegal are deported. Come on! I'd like to see the Federal Government start deporting. . .

    November 5, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. camel jockey, los angeles, ca

    I wasn't aware they needed driver's licenses to have insurance. Those two sounded like shills working for the governor of New York.

    November 5, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. camel jockey, los angeles, ca

    In a real sense, the illegals are victims. Victims of being Mexican. What is never talked about is Mexico and why they are not able or willing to provide for their citizens. Why is this country so screwed up?

    November 5, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Raman, Plano TX

    – Elizabeth, TN
    – Jed, MN

    I just have to ask this:

    Just got a message from Walker: Huge PR campaign under way.

    Now PR is as in Public Relations or PR is as in P. Rajendra (used to be National Group Head at NIIT, India Ltd. – A HCL group company. HPS-HCL Perot System was a joint venture between HCL and Perot Systems Corp).

    Now Walker is any Walker or JeffreyWalker of Tenfold (a Utah based company that was in alliance with Perot Systems Corp). Can you recall Mitt Romney was Chief of Winter Olympics that were hosted at Utah sometime back.

    Now Jeffery is any Jeffery or a brigadier General just injured last week in Iraq.

    An example of how IDs can be messed up.

    I may be halucinating but certainly not without a reason.

    November 5, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. therealist

    This is a fine example of a bogus, biased, pro-Hillary story from CNN. You guys are getting as bad as MSMBC when it comes to planting pudits and then eporting their biased political view points. Where's all that hate spewed at FEMA for asking staffers questions??

    November 5, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Paul Eversman

    Once again Hillary tries to fool people by distorting the facts. Just because a person may have a license does NOT mean they have insurance for the car they may drive. It is the CAR that carries insurance NOT the driver! There is no such thing as an insured driver. You can be licensed but the car you drive might be uninsured. I'm sure if we dig into these incidents of cars driven by illegals we will find hat the cars they drove were not their own and were uninsured as well. I doubt that illegals with licenses will be registering and insuring cars. They are most likely NOT there own vehicles.

    November 5, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. J. Philip, Mt. Olive, Louisiana

    We all know this Drivers License gimick is about registering Illegal Mexicans to vote Democrat in the Nov. 2008 elections, least we forget, there are close to 30 Million Illegal Mexicans in the USA.

    November 5, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Hillary....they did "figure it out" – its called "illegal" – now....the states have to enforce it....not condone it....what a dope

    November 5, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  22. Henry Hahn / Baltimore, MD

    On immigration, "The federal government has failed," cries Mrs. Clinton twice. Apparently the brightest woman in the country exempts herself as a senator from the federal government. And as a senator from New York she exempts herself from the federal system in taking no leadership, early or late, on immigration. Is this mere stupidity or a mea culpa bid for the higher sainthood by self-crucifixion?

    This, of course, is the same low-wattage senator who wrote a bill to abolish the Electoral College. Did she miss PoliSci 101 the day the class learned that the chief reason for the Senate was to make representation in the Electoral College more equal between large and small states? Without the Electoral College there would have been no reason for the Senate. Has Hillary moved to abolish the Senate? Does baloney submit itself to the grinder?

    Henry Hahn

    November 5, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. Max, Des Moines, IA

    Jolliffe's actually my professor at Drake University, and she's not a plant, but one of the many Iowa Democrats who are in need of change in this country and will fight for it and challenge the candidates to make it happen.

    So feel free to keep calling her a plant, but it isn't true, I'm afraid. Does know a thing or two about graphic design, though.

    November 5, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  24. Wes

    This country is in big trouble.. maybe a hillary presidency is what we need to get the real Americans awake and start the armed revolution! and this time its going to be a total cleanup, shutdown notsofree trade, get out of the UN, shoot and/or deport all illegals and wipe out the mental sickness called liberalism/moronism completely.

    November 5, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Former Rightie,

    You wrote, "Hello – reality check ! They are here because they can get jobs. Jobs that Americans will not do, or else the jobs would not exist for them. For those of you willing to pay more for a head of lettuce,..."

    HELLOOOOO – stop buying into the liberal mantra "illegal aliens do the work no one else wants to do". LEGAL ALIENS will do this work. The ONLY difference between LEGAL and ILLEGAL is one obeys the laws – the others ignore it.

    You think the cost of lettuce is going to shoot up? I'll gladly pay $3 for a head of lettuce if that means a reduction of BILLIONS in uncovered medical costs, reduction in crime, and a safer border are a result of enforcing our immigration policy!

    November 5, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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