Hillary Clinton Goes Even Further Left on Immigration

June 8, 2015 4:26 am
by David Jakeman

The presidential primary season is upon us, though it’s hard to know when presidential primary efforts begin for candidates like Hillary Clinton, who, some might argue, has been running for the Democratic presidential nomination since 1992. But with a lame-duck president, both parties are now looking to field a presidential candidate, and immigration is becoming a hot topic.

Clinton’s Immigration Movement

As immigration attorneys observing the competition note, it appears that Clinton is moving even further to the left on her immigration stance, moving further to the left of even President Obama’s recent executive action. It is not uncommon to see candidates work to appeal to their base, so Clinton’s advocacy for an even more extensive amnesty program would seem to fit that vein. Observers, both among the Democrats and the Republicans, see it as a very shrewd move. By moving so far to the left, Clinton makes it very clear to those favoring immigration reform that she is securely on their side.

But Clinton also has some Republicans worried because they fear that such a clear stance compared with Republican hedging will leave the vast majority of voters concerned with immigration issues dissatisfied with the Republicans. The Republicans desperately need to garner a larger percentage of Latino voters in this next election if they want a chance of rivaling the Democrats. The hope for Clinton’s campaign is that her stance will dam up that possible source of voters.

Potential Problems with Immigration Stance

But Clinton’s position could hurt her in states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, where the Democrats need to make sure they do not alienate white working-class residents. Some might feel that she is simply pandering to one segment of society without taking their concerns into consideration. If she goes too far to the left, she could lose out on vital support in the Rust Belt areas.

Clinton’s approach might also be viewed as excessive pandering and hurt her position among Latinos. The Latino population is not monolithic. As long as the Republicans seem reasonable to the immigrant community, other issues become more important and could sway voters.1 What no one seems to be talking about is that very possibly, a Republican president would have an easier time passing comprehensive immigration reform because they would be better suited to working with a Republican-controlled Congress.

Any immigration attorney with critical thinking skills would understand why this is probably a difficult argument to make because it would be conceding that Republicans have been intransigent. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives failed to take up the bipartisan bill based in the Senate, and it has blocked most efforts for comprehensive immigration reform. Time will tell if Clinton’s approach pays off, but for many Republicans already doing the delicate tightrope walk of immigration, it just might make the rope a bit more wobbly.


1 http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/08/the-immigration-bidding-war/

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