A year ago, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton called for deporting undocumented immigrant children from the United States; now she is expressing concerns about just such plans.
Late on Wednesday, the Washington Post broke the news that the Obama administration is prepping large-scale raids aimed at deporting hundreds of Central American undocumented migrants who fled to the United States to escape drug war violence in their countries.
The news provoked harsh condemnation from Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, who called on the administration to cease the plan.
The reaction from the Clinton campaign was softer, but critical. “Hillary Clinton has real concerns about these reports, especially as families are coming together during the holiday season,” campaign spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa said. “She believes it is critical that everyone has a full and fair hearing, and that our country provides refuge to those who need it. And we should be guided by a spirit of humanity and generosity as we approach these issues.”
Yet Clinton did not join her rivals in calling for the deportations to be halted. This could be because back in 2014, as the Central American migrant crisis became apparent, it was Clinton who first broke with the Obama administration, calling for the migrants to be sent back.
In response to a little-noticed question during a July 2014 CNN town hall, Clinton said that thousands of children who had made it across the border “should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are.” She concluded: “We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. So we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws, or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”