The political news of the day would have you believe that Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton has completely broken ranks with the Obama administration on the newest wave of deportation raids that has Democrats outraged, but a closer examination of the four-and-a-half-minute answer the former Secretary of State gave to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos last night at the Black and Brown Forum in Iowa would suggest Clinton would just be continuing many facets of the Obama administration’s policy. Although Clinton did say that what she doesn’t “like are the mass roundups and the raids that just pick people up and send them off in the middle of the night, and that should end,” she also said that she would give “every person, but particularly children, due process.” Here is the final exchange between Ramos and Clinton:
RAMOS: But will you deport children?
CLINTON: Let me say this: I would give every person, but particularly children, due process, to have their story told, and a lot of children will of course have very legitimate stories under our law to be able to stay. And I am going to end private detention centers. I am going to end family detention, both of which I think are not in keeping with our values as Americans. I cannot sit here and tell you I have a blanket rule about who or who won’t ever be let into the country to stay because it has to be done individually by individually. What I don’t like are the mass roundups and the raids that just pick people up and send them off in the middle of the night, and that should end.
These were the first public comments Clinton herself gave since news of impending deportations circulated during Christmas (previously, two Clinton campaign spokespeople had issued statements), so anticipation was high among immigration rights groups. In the end, Clinton did not follow the calls by opponents Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders to extend Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Clinton also repeated her position that the controversial Plan Colombia would be an effective strategy to aid Central American countries, who experience some of the worst cases of violence in the world right now. The comment about ending private detention alluded to a recent shift in Clinton’s position on this topic, since last year, her campaign was receiving funds from private prison lobbyists.
Clinton’s immigration position to Ramos were not lost on those who were following #DemForum online last night.
“Will you deport children?” Hillary Clinton: “I will give them the chance to have their stories told.” What a graceful “Heh, yea” #DemForum
— Julia Carmel (@JuliaCarmel__) January 12, 2016
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) January 12, 2016
Clinton just refused multiple times to say she wouldn’t deport children. Talked about “due process.” For non-English-speaking little kids.
— Bill Humphrey (@BillHumphreyMA) January 12, 2016
— Matthew Kolken (@mkolken) January 12, 2016
There are also questions as to whether Clinton’s latest views are just another example of an immigration doublespeak that has been ongoing since the 1990s.
Erika Andiola of the Sanders campaign made sure to contrast Sanders and Clinton in her remarks to Buzzfeed last night:
In the spin room afterwards, Sanders campaign’s Erika Andiola said she wasn’t surprised with said that Clinton is always careful with the words she uses on immigration. “The fact that she got asked two or three times about it and she had to think about it says it all,” she said.
“To us, that is a very easy question to answer,” Andiola continued. Asked if Sanders would pledge not to deport children, she said, “Of course.”
A Clinton statement released after the forum and reported by HuffPost coincided with what she told Ramos in Iowa:
Our immigration enforcement efforts should be humane and conducted in accordance with due process, and that is why I believe we must stop the raids happening in immigrant communities. We have laws and we must be guided by those laws, but we shouldn’t have armed federal officers showing up at peoples’ homes, taking women and children out of their beds in the middle of the night. The raids have sown fear and division in immigrant communities across the country.
Besty Woodruff of The Daily Beast said that “over the course of [Clinton’s] political career, ’s used rhetoric and held positions on the issue that would sound right at home on the 2016 Republican debate stage.”
This afternoon, Democratic Senate leader said he expects a pause in the deportation plan.
What Is White Privilege?
Another part of Clinton’s appearance included an answer to a question about how she would define white privilege. Here is that video:
Sanders on Immigration
Sanders was also asked about his immigration voting record:
O’Malley on Deportations
O’Malley also shared his views about the current deportations:
Fusion has also published the complete forum here: