Hillary Clinton said Tuesday during her first 2016 campaign stop in Nevada — I am strongly in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., and my would-be Republican rivals are not.
“We can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship,” Clinton declared during a roundtable discussion with young Nevadans with undocumented families. “This is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side. Make no mistakes: today, not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly or consistently supporting a path to citizenship.”
Clinton spurned the idea, floated by some Republicans, of granting legal residency — but not citizenship — to undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. “When they talk about legal status, that is code for second class status, and we should never forget who this debate is about,” she said. “People who work hard, who love this country, who pay taxes to it, and want nothing more than to build a good future for themselves and their children.”
The bulk of the 2016 GOP field has opposed immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, dubbing it “amnesty” for people who broke the law. But a handful of Republicans have struck a more moderate tone on the issue. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who declared his presidential bid last month, helped spearhead the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013. That measure included a path to citizenship but ultimately died in the House. Rubio now says he favors a step-by-step approach to the issue. And former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who hasn’t declared but appears likely to run, has voiced his openness to a path to citizenship in the past but has recently taken to emphasizing a path to “legal status.”