Hillary Rodham Clinton threw down the immigration gauntlet on Tuesday and pledged that she would extend President Barack Obama’s executive orders past their current boundaries if she were to succeed him in the White House.
‘I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship,’ she told a Las Vegas roundtable of illegal immigrant high school students, including one who said he was transgender and another who identified herself as a lesbian.
In addition to the ‘DREAMers’ Obama has protected from deportation – those brought to the U.S. as minors – Clinton said she wants the program extended to grant a legal amnesty to the parents as well.
‘I want to do everything we can to defend the president’s executive orders,’ she said, adding separately that ‘as president I would do everything possible under the law to go even further.’
‘We should put into place a simple, straightforward and accessible way for parents of DREAMers … to make their case,’ Clinton added, ‘and to be eligible for the same deferred action as their children.’
‘But that’s just the beginning.’
Clinton said no one on the Republican side of the 2016 presidential contest had a plan to put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.
‘When they talk about “legal status”‘ instead of ‘citizenship,’ she insisted, ‘that is code for second-class status.’
GOP conservatives, including many in Congress, see a sharp legal distinction between immigrants who have entered the U.S. legally with work permits and those who have snuck across the country’s border with Mexico.
They have so far managed to block attempts to legislate the kind of amnesty the Obama White House has demanded.
Among the presidential field, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the most staunch opponent. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has not yet formally entered the race, has taken a softer approach – saying border-crossing is at times ‘an act of love’ for families that would otherwise be disjointed or separated by national borders.
Clinton’s Nevada stop, 24 days into her presdiential campaign, marks the first sign of her staking out a position on a hot-button issue.
Read more: dailymail.co.uk