If Hillary Clinton’s opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination were chasing her on trade yesterday, today they’re getting out front on immigration.
Today is the third anniversary of the announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has given legal work status to 700,000 illegal immigrants.
“If it weren’t for DREAMers, their voices and efforts, DACAmented youth around the country wouldn’t be able to contribute their skills, work and ingenuity to the country they call home,” former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said in English and Spanish statements today. “These are the young New Americans who are doing what so many of our ancestors have done before them: making our nation stronger with their passion, their talent, and their love of country.”
“I’ve had the honor of working side by side many of these New Americans. I am proud of what we fought for together – passing the DREAM Act in Maryland and making sure that all New Americans regardless of their status could drive lawfully and safely in our communities.”
However, he said, “DACA is just a temporary solution, and it is a moral and economic imperative that we make sure DREAMers and other New Americans can fully contribute to our country.”
“I know the urgency to fix our broken immigration system,” O’Malley said. “I’m the only candidate in this race who has committed to tackle immigration reform in my first 100 days in office and the only one with a proven record of advancing New American rights.”
Last month, Clinton hired a DREAMer activist as her campaign’s Latino outreach director.
Campaigning in Nevada in early May with DREAMers — illegal immigrants brought to the country as children, named so for the DREAM Act — Hillary Clinton vowed “to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put DREAMers – including many with us today – at risk of deportation.”
“And, if Congress refuses to act, as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further. There are more people – like many parents of DREAMers and others with deep ties and contributions to our communities – who deserve a chance to stay. I’ll fight for them too,” she added.
Clinton’s campaign released a fact sheet on her plans for comprehensive immigration reform, stressing that anything from Congress “must include nothing less than a full and equal path to citizenship.”
But the Dems aren’t the only one staking out their claims on immigration.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), vying for the Republican nomination, told CBS on Sunday that “Mitt Romney and Ann Romney did our party a great service by admitting that embracing self-deportation in 2012 was their biggest mistake.”
“They have given us a chance in 2016 to win,” Graham said. “You’re not going to self-deport 11 million people. You’re not going to be able to do that. I’m not going to be a Republican nominee wanting to try to do that. If you pass a criminal background check, I will allow to you stay here legally and earn your way to citizenship. It will be hard-earned pathway. But I hope every candidate on the Republican side will follow Mitt Romney’s lead and admit it was a mistake to embrace self-deportation. And I hope self-deportation is in our rear-view mirror as a party, because if it is not, we will lose in 2016.”
“…There are some people saying we need to limit legal immigration. To me, they’re just looking in a different world than I am. We will be down to two workers for every retiree in the next 20 years. We’re going to need more legal immigration. And I hope we will embrace a comprehensive approach that is realistic and humane.”