WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton promised a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in her first 100 days as president during a speech today before an audience of African-American and Latino journalists.
Her proposal drew some applause from the attendees at the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists joint convention in D.C.
“In my first 100 days, I am going to introduce legislation for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. It’s not only the right thing to do – every independent analysis shows it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy. It will also keep families together. We need to bring hardworking people out of the shadows. America has always been a place where people from around the world work hard and apply their talents to American growth and innovation in pursuit of their own dreams,” Clinton told the journalists’ convention. “We’re going to do everything we can to get this done.”
Before Clinton took to the stage, a staff member with a NABJ badge asked individuals sitting in the working press section of the event not to applaud during Clinton’s remarks. Most of the applause heard when Clinton mentioned her support for immigration came from convention seating where members of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists were located.
GOP nominee Donald Trump was invited to speak at the conference but turned it down, NABJ said. President George W. Bush and nominee Bob Dole addressed the group in the past.
After her opening speech, Clinton was asked by one of the moderators how she plans to accomplish immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.
“We’re going to start immediately. I want this to be a clear high priority for my administration. We will be prepared to introduce legislation as quickly as we can do, so I am hoping that the outcome of the election, which I am working hard to ensure a victory, will send a clear message to our Republican friends that it’s time for them to quit standing in the way of immigration reform,” she said.
The former secretary of State vowed to create a new office of “immigrant affairs” within the White House to “answer questions and provide information and help people.” She also pledged to close “private” illegal immigrant detention centers and keep President Obama’s executive actions on illegal immigration alive.
The former U.S. senator from New York encouraged reporters in the audience to compare the plans detailed on her website with her rival Trump’s proposals. She accidently referred to Trump as her “husband” but quickly corrected herself.
“He talks about curtailing press freedom as well. We need to stand up as a country and say, ‘Donald Trump doesn’t represent who we are and what we believe,’” she said.
Clinton also urged the media to hold “all of us” accountable.
“Journalists have a special responsibility to our democracy in a time like this,” Clinton said. “Many of you are showing the way. It’s a badge of honor when Jorge Ramos gets thrown out of a press conference for challenging Donald Trump or when another news organization gets banned for reporting what he says. As Jorge says, the best journalism happens when you take a stand, so I hope you’ll keep calling it like you see it, keep holding all of us accountable.”
As previously reported by PJM, Ramos has admitted his testy exchange with Trump was pre-planned.
“We knew we had to do two things as journalists. First to stand up, I mean, again, if you ask a question sitting down it would be a completely different balance of power and as a journalist you have to be at the same level,” he said. “And second, we knew I was only going to have a few seconds to ask a question and I purposely made the decision I was going to continue asking the question regardless of what he [Trump] was going to be doing.”