Posted on December 3, 2004

Hillary Clinton To Right Of National Republican Leadership On Immigration

Randall Parker,, Dec. 1

Little noticed at the time (certainly I had no idea!) back in February 2003 Hillary Clinton came out firmly against illegal immigration.

Saying that she is strongly opposed to “illegal immigrants,” New York Sen. Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday that she would support a national identification card for U.S. citizens if other measures to keep illegals out of the country failed.

“I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants,” Clinton told WABC Radio’s John Gambling. Then, a few moments later, the Democratic Party presidential frontrunner added, “We might have to move towards an ID system even for citizens.”

Clinton said she would support a national ID card as part of an overall effort to improve the U.S.’s national security.

“Clearly we have to make some tough decisions as a country,” the top Democrat warned. “And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we’re going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let’s have a system that keeps track of them.”

. . .

“People have to stop employing illegal immigrants,” she told WABC. “I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau Counties, stand in the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx (and) you’re going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work. You know, this is not a problem that the people coming into the country are solely responsible for. They wouldn’t be coming if we didn’t put them to work.”

On Wednesday November 17, 2004 Hillary repeated her argument that we should be using more technology to protect our borders.

I don’t think that we have protected our borders or our ports or provided our first responders with the resources they need, so we can do more and we can do better,” Clinton told Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren.

To enhance border security, Clinton explained, “there’s technology now available. There are some advanced radar systems. There are biometric and other kinds of identification systems that we’ve been very slow to deploy and unwilling to spend money on.”

. . .

In December 2001, for instance, Clinton urged Canadian offiicals to “crack down on some of these false documents and illegals getting in.”

Think about the electoral calculus for her position. She’d gain people on the Right and in the middle who are frustrated about illegal aliens. She might lose some Hispanic votes but she’d gain other Hispanics who do not want illegals coming in competing with them for jobs. So her Hispanic losses may be pretty small and her gains among white males (who are far more numerous) and even white females unhappy about the current immigrant influx could potentially be very large. If our choice in 2008 is pro-illegals Jeb Bush versus anti-illegals Hillary Clinton then I predict Hillary will win.

Mickey Kaus sees this as an attempt by Hillary to crack her stereotypical liberal image since that image is a liability for her.

P.S.: If Hillary’s attacked by Hispanic groups for these sentiments so much the better for her! Her husband had an unformed, fuzzy image when he ran—he could show his heartening anti-liberal streak by dissing an out-of-line rap singer. Hillary, in contrast, has a hard, fixed liberal image—and probably needs to crack it with a high profile, revelatory fight against someone or something on the left more powerful than Sister Souljah. How about LULAC?

Hillary, as presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate in 2008, has put Republican Presidential aspirants in 2008 in a difficult position. The Republicans have gotten away with defying their base on immigration because their base had nowhere else to go. Well, Hillary just said “come on over”. A lot of elections are won by very small margins. Hillary’s position has made the standard national Republican waffle on immigration harder to sustain. In the run-up to the 2008 election national Republicans are going to be under greater pressure to take harder line positions against illegal immigration.