As Donald Trump continues to lead polls for the Republican presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton is embracing a predictable rhetorical tactic: lumping Republican candidates in with their party’s current front-runner.
At a speech at the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Brooklyn only steps away from her campaign headquarters, Clinton repeatedly referenced Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims and Mexican immigrants, slamming the Republican front-runner’s proposals to deport immigrants living in the US without permission and prevent Muslims from entering the country.
“Candidates for president are calling immigrants drug-runners and rapists,” Clinton said, referencing Trump’s comments from June. “They promise if elected to round up and deport millions of people, build a mammoth wall, militarize the border, tear families apart.”
“We shouldn’t let anybody on the public stage say that we are mean spirited, that we’re going to build walls, mentally and physically, that we’re going to shut doors, and that we’re going to lose the talents and contributions of millions of people that are here doing the best they can.”
After noting that no major Republican candidates support comprehensive immigration reform efforts, Clinton criticised Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) directly for retracting his support for a 2013 Senate bill that would have created a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the US illegally.
“You know. Sen. Rubio actually helped write the 2013 immigration bill. Now he renounces it. They’re all moving toward the extreme and away from the rest of America,” she said.
It’s not the first time Clinton has gone after Rubio.
Indeed, many in Clinton’s campaign still don’t think that Trump will prevail over other Republican candidates. According to Politico, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told donors at a fundraiser last week that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was the most-likely nominee, a possibility that’s appeared more likely since Cruz began rising in the polls.
At Monday’s event, Clinton announced that she would expand waivers to exempt people from the “naturalization fee,” a $675 application fee that many advocates say prevents some lower- and working-class immigrants from becoming citizens.
This is a slightly amended position from what Clinton has advocated recently. As CNN’s Dan Merica noted, when asked about the fee last week, Clinton said she supported it.
Clinton on undocumented immigrants becoming citizens: “I do think people should have to pay a fine.”
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) December 9, 2015
People close to the Clinton campaign told Business Insider that the campaign meets regularly with immigration advocates and occasionally makes adjustments and updates to her immigration platform based on suggestions.
Despite the fact that organisers reminded the crowd at Monday’s event that the conference was notably non-partisan, several speakers weren’t afraid to emphasise the growing electoral muscle that Latinos could flex in the coming election.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), who introduced Clinton, received some of the biggest applause of the afternoon when he referenced his goal to register 1 million new immigrants to vote in the 2016 elections.
“It’s wonderful to be gathered to be here with you as we move forward, as we move forward to make sure we have one million new immigrant citizens ready to vote come 2016,” Gutierrez said.
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