Chicago (CNN) – Hillary Clinton took a break from her frenetic book tour on Tuesday and blasted people who opposed immigration reform during a speech to two food producing trade organizations in Chicago.
The speech to the United Fresh Produce Association and the Food Marketing Institute was dramatically different than Clinton's earlier book signing in New York City. At a Manhattan Barnes & Noble earlier in the day, Clinton was flanked by devotees who waited overnight for her to sign her new book. In Chicago, Clinton was met with a less enthusiastic crowd of mostly food company employees and representatives, some of whom left before he speech was over.
In the biggest applause line of the night, Clinton said she believes "strongly in immigration reform" but has been "somewhat bewildered" by the immigration debate in Washington.
"Everybody I talk to personally, Democratic and Republican alike in the leadership of both houses, know we have to have immigration reform," Clinton said. "Part of the strength of the vitality of our economy is the fact that people still want to come to this country, make their stake, prove themselves."
Clinton went on to blast people who "are scared because there is a small minority of people in public life and those they represent who don't seem to understand one of our strongest and most important attributes is that we are still a nation of immigrants."
Clinton was interviewed on stage by Stuart Resnick, the founder of Wonderful Brands and a Clinton supporter, who noted that the agriculture and food production industry was overall supportive of immigration reform.
Immigration reform, despite passing the Senate last year and being named one of President Barack Obama's top priorities for his second term, has seen very little movement in the House of Representatives.
Late in 2013, House Speaker John Boehner insisted that while immigration reform was "absolutely not" dead, he had "no intention" of negotiating with the Democratic-led Senate over its comprehensive immigration proposal. Many Republicans want to pass immigration in smaller bills, not one large bill.
Clinton has long been a supporter of immigration reform, but Tuesday night's remarks were some of her most outspoken attacks on people who oppose the bill.
In April, when asked by an undocumented immigrant at an event in New York about the bill, Clinton said she was a "huge supporter of immigration reform and a path to citizenship and will continue to advocate for that."
While Clinton spoke at length about her book, "Hard Choices," which hit bookshelves on Tuesday, the event was not part of her book tour. It was planned before the book's release date was announced, said organizers, who said they got lucky on the timing.
Clinton's book tour break won't be long, however. On Wednesday she heads to a Chicago Ideas Week event where she will talk about her book with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a longtime Clinton aide and supporter.