Monday, March 13, 2006

A tale of two Hillarys

A few days ago, the headline "Sen. Clinton Slams GOP Immigration Bill" and its subtitle "Sen. Clinton: GOP Immigration Bill Would Require 'Police State' for Enforcement" nearly made me choke on my morning coffee.
WASHINGTON Mar 8, 2006 (AP)— Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential White House candidate in 2008, said Wednesday some Republicans are trying to create a "police state" to round up illegal immigrants.

Clinton, D-N.Y., spoke out on the U.S. immigration policy after largely staying away from an issue that has roiled Congress in recent months and spurred a number of conflicting proposals.

Speaking at a rally of Irish immigrants, Clinton criticized a bill the House passed in December that would impose harsher penalties for undocumented workers.

"Don't turn your backs on what made this country great," she said, calling the measure "a rebuke to what America stands for."

The House measure would make unlawful presence in the United States, which is currently a civil offense, a felony.

Clinton said it would be "an unworkable scheme to try to deport 11 million people, which you have to have a police state to try to do."

She called instead for immigration changes "based on strengthening our borders in order to make us safer from the threat of terrorism."

The senator also sent a four-page public letter to constituents outlining her views on immigration. In the letter, she shied away from specifics but said she does support allowing at least some of the estimated 11 million undocumented workers to earn citizenship.

Such changes should include "a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen," Clinton wrote....

President Bush has argued for a temporary worker program that would allow illegal immigrants to keep their jobs in hotels, restaurants, nurseries, agriculture and other businesses that depend on low-wage laborers....
Was she replaced by a clone or a twin? (I would say "evil twin" but that would be extremely hard to imagine.) This is not the Hillary Clinton we've seen in recent months, specifically the one who's harped on how the U.S. must tighten security along our southern border.

And she's completely wrong, anyway, about the White House's proposed bill. If anything, as Michelle Malkin and other conservatives have pointed out, the bill makes it even easier for immigrants to get legal status. The bill will not suddenly begin deporting illegal immigrants, but it will require them to register and make it easy enough to do. Hillary is up to her old trick of rhetoric and scare tactics, and unfortunately people tend to believe her.

So what happened? Did Hillary get visited by the three ghosts of immigration? That's not far from the truth, really. She needed to backtrack somehow from her "border security" hawkishness, trusting in voters' generally poor memories, because her advisors realized that she may be alienating too much of the Hispanic electorate. Recent polls show her not doing very strongly in a 2008 presidential race, and she can't afford to throw away any support. Democrats are finding that they can no longer count on very high percentages of the black vote, and is the Hispanic vote next?

I wrote in my entry on the politics and economics of illegal immigration that I support very liberalized immigration. And when federal agencies "crack down" on illegal immigrants, too often it's on the wrong people. However, in the wake of 9/11, with many terrorists trying to sneak into the U.S. through the southern border, I believe immigrants must be regulated and documented. If we make it easy enough for the honest ones who merely want to come here and work hard (and not take advantage of social services), then we'll know those trying to cross the border illegally will be up to no good.

Previous on HillaryWatch:
A tale of two hypocrites
The queen of state-worshippers, part II
The queen of state-worshippers

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