A nice catch by Byron York. As this was making the rounds on Twitter this afternoon, someone responded that it was probably just an overzealous intern’s mistake. It doesn’t really represent Hillary’s policy.
Does it? Hold that thought.
"No one has the right to immigrate to this country." —Donald Trump during his rally in Florida today
We disagree. https://t.co/9gS9q5vQS9
— Hillary for Ohio (@HillaryforOH) September 19, 2016
Does Hillary Clinton believe that everyone has a right to immigrate to America? Well, no. She’s still for deporting violent criminals, but violent criminals are the easy cases. What about the harder cases? Should a nonviolent foreigner have a right to enter and reside in the United States, according to Team Hillary? I’d refer you to this speech in May 2015. Obama issued two executive mega-amnesties as president: One, DACA, was for DREAMers, kids who’d been brought to the U.S. illegally when they were young, and the other, DAPA, was for parents whose kids are American citizens even though they themselves are not. In both cases there’s a sort of citizenship nexus that Obama seized on to justify the amnesty. In the case of DREAMers, the argument is that they’re like citizens since, in many cases, America is the only country they’ve ever known. In the case of DAPA, the argument is that parents of kids who are bona fide citizens should be allowed to stay in the name of family unification. There’s a category missing there though. What about parents of DREAMers? The citizenship nexus is further removed in that case since now you’re extending legal status to family members of people who are themselves illegal under the law. Obama’s White House wouldn’t touch that category for fear that he couldn’t justify it legally.
Hillary’s campaign will touch it, though. That’s been one of her big panders to amnesty fans: In order to keep families together, she’ll go where Obama wouldn’t by extending the right to remain in the U.S. to illegal parents of DREAMers, who are themselves illegal. In theory there’ll be deadlines imposed on that — if you weren’t in the country by X date, you’re not eligible for the program, etc — but what it amounts to in practice is a de facto right to immigrate to the United States so long as you brought a child with you when you crossed the border. Imagine the incentive that policy will create among Mexicans to bring the entire family, especially children, with them when entering the U.S. in the future on the (probably correct) assumption that President Hillary’s “sympathetic” White House won’t have the heart to deport them, missed deadline or not. Hillary’s own campaign website doesn’t limit future amnesties to parents of DREAMers either. They’re just one category of several mentioned as “sympathetic cases”:
Do everything possible under the law to protect families. If Congress keeps failing to act on comprehensive immigration reform, Hillary will enact a simple system for those with sympathetic cases—such as parents of DREAMers, those with a history of service and contribution to their communities, or those who experience extreme labor violations—to make their case and be eligible for deferred action.
As a matter of law, you wouldn’t call deferred action by the president to let an illegal family stay in the U.S. a “right” to immigrate. Rights can’t be revoked but executive action can be. As a matter of politics, though, of course it operates as a right. Once they’re here, no future Republican president is going to send them back, especially with the Latino share of the electorate growing. It’s not all that inaccurate to say that Hillary believes families, especially ones with small children, have a de facto right to immigrate. And if families have the right, why wouldn’t law-abiding single people abroad have the right? Democrats are in no position, given how heavily their fortunes depend on singles on Election Day, to be drawing any bright “Families Only” lines in their policy. Who knows what exciting supplemental amnesties a Hillary Clinton presidency will bring?
York thinks the tweet above would make a fine debate question for Hillary, even if it doesn’t capture her own policy accurately. I agree, but will settle for any reporter asking her about it. Where does the modern progressive Democratic Party draw the line on the “right to immigrate”?