Clinton spoke about her position on giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants on Sunday.
CLINTON, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, Sunday sought to further clarify her position on New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer’s controversial plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, a position which she said she’s already made clear on “a number of occasions.”
The issue was brought front and center at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate. At the time Clinton said the plan “makes a lot of sense" but stopped short of endorsing it. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, claimed her answer was inconsistent and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has since said that her answer to that question and others “left us wondering.”
Asked by reporters Sunday why it’s taken so long for clarification Clinton admitted she “wasn’t as clear as [she] should have been” but added, “I broadly support what governors like Elliot Spitzer are trying to do.”
Clinton said governors around the nation are left with the burden because she said the Bush administration and the federal government as a whole have failed to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.
“I think that it’s understandable that states are trying to fill a vacuum left by the failures of the federal government,” Clinton continued. “That is not an answer. I don’t want to see 50 states’ policies on immigration.”
“But finally I do not believe we can resolve this problem unless we bring people out of the shadows,” Clinton said, adding that undocumented immigrants should have a pathway to citizenship but they’d need to register, pay taxes, pay fines, learn English, and wait in line after those who’ve come to the United States legally. Those who have committed crimes, she said, should be deported.
Clinton added that the policy of simply giving licenses to illegal immigrants is not something she thinks any governor would seek out.
“But I was in Des Moines [Iowa] yesterday, and I had three people come up to me and say that they had been hit in automobile accidents by undocumented workers, and they said ‘what are we supposed to do? We’re the ones that were injured. Our cars were damaged, and we get no relief because these people have no accountability, there’s no system that requires them to have insurance or anything else.’”
Clinton made the comments to reporters at a press conference in Clinton, Iowa, alongside former Vice President Walter Mondale who had just announced his endorsement.
Related video: Watch Sen. Clinton discuss illegal immigration
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-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch