November 5th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
7 months ago

Clinton 'broadly supports' states' efforts to license illegals

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

Related: Drivers hit by illegal immigrants speak to Clinton

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-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Brian Young, Birmingham MI

    Hilarious how Hillary found a way to blow the election in 2007. If you want to see what a Hillary Presidency would do, just look at Michigan and its Socialist, big Govt, big TAX, anti-gun, anti-Big Three, anti-life, pro socialized medicine, anti-business, anti-Christian, paid by the Unions liberal Lawyer Governor Jennifer Granholm. The state of Michigan IS SCREWED with the highest unemployment and third world economy. Jenny's answer? You guessed it, a MASSIVE TAX INCREASE. Liberals like Hillary and Jenny call taxes "revenue" as if the state worked for its money. The state of Michigan IS ONE UGLY BABY and Hillary wants to do the same for the rest of you.

    November 5, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. Chris Baltimore, MD

    This should be a Democratic issue. This country exploits the illegal alien work force and keeps wages for many jobs low. The reason no American will do many of these jobs is that there is always an illegal willing to do it for less. Without the ready pool of cheap labor the big winner would be the American worker.

    Just the thought that a person could sneak into this country and be given a legal government ID should make everyone uneasy. Think about it the next time you board a plane.

    November 5, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Stephen Moore, Houston, TX

    Seriously, this lady scares me. What happen to rule of law. Rewarding Illegal behavior is not going to work with the American people, this issue alone will kill her campaign, THANKFULLY.

    November 5, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. Greg, Laguna Beach, CA

    Giving licenses to foreign nationals residing in this country illegally solves what problem? It will force them all to have insurance? This is the point? So, then what will happen to these non-citizen drivers if they choose not to get a license and insurance? I suppose the same as now, which is nothing. problem not solved.

    anyway, who is defining the problems of this country? uninsured drivers? please! how about too many drivers on the roads! (wonder why...) how about too many kids in classrooms? (hmmm...)how about emergency rooms used for common healthcare, and hospitals closing due to non-payments...how about crime, gangs, disease, identity theft, welfare and social services burden, prison overcrowding, voter fraud, post 9/11 borderINsecurity, once-good-paying-and-available jobs(i.e. construction work), profiteering by corporations (the southern plantations also argued they NEEDed the slaves), and fairness to other would-be immigrants from other countries. What about THESE problems? I blame only the politicians, not the immigrants, for enabling/encouraging mass immigration over the past decades. We had Amnesty in the 80's with the condition of then enforcing our LAWS. But the enforcing our laws part of the deal never happened. And, it seems, never will. Money, votes, profits and power. That's what they get. We get...all the above.

    November 5, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  5. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Come on CNN. Stop Censoring Post from people against Hillary and her stupidity for supporting this issue.

    You have already buried this down in the blogs yet this has the highest comments of any issue today.

    Hillary is going down for this issue and so is your reputation for supporting her. She can't unring the bell for what she said on Live TV. And could not defend herself when confronted by the other more qualified canidates and the moderator.

    It's a fact that Hillary bases every opinion she has off of poll numbers and how an issue is polling. Only she screwed up big by supporting this, then waffled by saying she does not, then says she does but does not once again.

    She can not get elected now and even if she did we would have to wait till the polls are taken to find out what she would do.

    What would she do in a real crisis? Turn on CNN and wait for her opinion to be spoon fed to her?

    Hillary just went Yeah Haw like Howard Dean did 4 years ago. Time to move on and pick another canidate CNN. Just like you did 4 years ago.

    November 5, 2007 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  6. Joan - Tucson, Arizona

    Hillary says, "I do not believe we can resolve this problem unless we bring people out of the shadows". Why don't we just deport them. If we just get rid of all these illegals that would be the end of the problem. If Hillary and Spitzer put half the effort into deporting the illegals that they are putting into giving them drivers licenses we could be rid of the illegal invaders.

    I think Hillary is more interested in votes than she is about drivers licenses for illegals. Unfortunately, the rest of us legal citizens will end up paying the price of what these votes for Hillary will cost for years to come.

    November 5, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  7. Mary, San Diego, California

    It is wrong for any state or local government to give out official documents to people illegally in our country, especially drivers' licenses, which are the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. This is aiding and abetting illegal aliens, which is against the law. State and local government have the duty to make sure they are not aiding and abetting illegal aliens.

    November 5, 2007 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  8. bprossersme

    Hillary's in bed with China. China has given Hillary "wish lists" to change America. Go ahead fools, vote for her.

    November 5, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  9. truecitizen, orange county, ca

    hey hillary,

    could you please explain why the clinton administration ignored and refused to implement the jordan commission's recommendations on immigration policy in the 1990's?

    November 5, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  10. Stewart Bethel, OH

    to ms clinton, then if you believe that if they have committed a crime they should be deported all illegals should be deported... They have committed a crime by coming into the country illegally... why should they have the right to wait in line to come into the country then? We know that they are willing to do what ever they want be it illegal or not... What is to say if we let them in after this, if they want something they will not just take it... A CRIME IS A CRIME...

    November 6, 2007 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. Rose Hann New London, CT

    I have added comments twice and here goes attempt number three. CNN needs to stand behind our first ammensent rights. Lou Dobbs gets to call Gov. and President, and Congress idiots, but we can't say Lou Dobbs is part of the problem.
    I agree with illegals having driver's license and INSRANCE. Many already have fraudulent licenses. An accident with one can cost a citizen higher insurance rates. Are we really caring about the Middle Class? According to Lou Dobbs a so called advocate of Middle Class doesn't seem to understand. Oh, and if your a guest on Lou Dobbs and disagree, don't expect to be heard. Perhaps Wolf Blitzer can allow those he interviews to offer the consderation of allowing them to answer a question! This is a democracy people, we don't all need to agree. I do like Jack Cafferty, he reads even negative email comments. I'm sure Lou Dobbs gets as many, but, he prefers the "Atta Boy Lou". As for Dobbs trying to convert his viewers too become Independents, they still are going to vote and the disservice is the Idependent can no longer participate in the Primaries depending on your state. It's rediculous! Also the illegal immigrant or aliens as he prefers doesn't offer a solution, only critisism to those who disagree.

    November 6, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Bobby

    Yeah, that is why they need to use bicycles Rose Hann. We break laws and make exceptions, everytime the law is inconvienent for someone. I would think this would be obvious. Spitzer is acting like some dictator. It is absurd.

    November 6, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Bob, Alexandria, VA

    Of course, Hillary supports driver licensing of illegal aliens. This would the first step for them to participate in our elections...and to alter the outcome in the Democrat's favor. Afterall, this is the same woman that wanted to abolish the Electoral College following the 2000 Presidential race. Hillary wants the country's population centers, which tend to vote Democrat, to determine the outcome. Never mind you midwesterns...who tend to be Republican, anyway.

    I don't know about you people, but I trust our founding fathers more than any Clinton! One last thought...let's enforce our current laws on immigration.

    November 7, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. Mia, Phoenix, AZ

    Why are some people saying a driver's license is a ticket for illegal immigrants to vote? I don't see the connection between a license and right to vote.

    November 7, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. RLA, Newport News, VA

    To: truecitizen, orange county, ca

    EXCELLENT QUESTION for Hillary in the next debate: Why didn't the Clinton Administration ignore the Jordan Commission on Immigration Reform?

    The Commission on Immigration Reform (CIR) was formed by Congress in 1990, to critically examine United States immigration policies. The bipartisan commission was chaired by the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, the highly esteemed civil rights advocate, and is often referred to as the Jordan Commission

    Recommendations on Illegal Immigration

    The first report issued by the CIR, U.S. Immigration Policy: Restoring Credibility, focused primarily on illegal immigration. Its main recommendations were:

    (1)Improve border management: The CIR found current enforcement inadequate to deter illegal immigration and increased training for border officials and increased resources for enforcement. It emphasized the need to prevent illegal entry to minimize the need for apprehension afterward.

    (2) Eliminate the "pull" of jobs: A main motivator for illegal immigration is the ease with which illegal aliens can work in the U.S. The CIR recommended additional barriers to illegal employment, including a computerized registry to verify work eligibility and the full use of already-existing (but seldom invoked) penalties against employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens.

    (3) Mitigate impact costs: Because immigration policy and enforcement are controlled by the federal government, the CIR recommended that the federal government be responsible for mitigating the fiscal impact of illegal immigration on the states and local communities. This responsibility includes making illegal aliens ineligible for non-emergency public services, holding sponsors financially responsible for the immigrants they sponsor, and assisting states and localities with the financial burden for incarceration, education, emergency medical care, and other costs associated with illegal immigration. (The commission noted that methods for accurately establishing such costs need to be implemented.)

    Perhaps some of the papers that are not to be release until AFTER THE ELECTIONS address the Clinton Administrations INCOMPETENCE on immigration reform.

    November 7, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Kelly

    My fiancé is an illegal immigrant we have seen 2 lawyers who have both told us to lay low and not to come forward because something is going to change. Even if I was 9 months pregnant and already married to my fiancé and we tried to go through the laws and pay the fines and go through the correct process so that we could live without worry and good taxpaying law abiding citizens (which is what he wants to be) he will get thrown out and banned for 10 years.
    I understand people being against illegal immigration reform acts. But something should be done for people who are married to US citizens and or have children that are US citizens. To have that be black and white and people being deported with a 10 year band is absurd

    January 25, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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