- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LAS VEGAS — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in Iowa often talked tough about illegal aliens and called for them to learn English. But as she shifted the campaign westward, her language has softened.

Like the other Democratic presidential candidates, Mrs. Clinton tells crowds she favors “comprehensive immigration reform,” which includes securing the border, creating a path to citizenship and keeping families intact. As voters in Iowa, worried about the millions of illegals in the U.S., called for action, she earned applause by calling for the deportation of any illegals who commit crimes and for insisting they learn English.

But at stops in Nevada, where nearly 15 percent of the population is Hispanic, voters cheered her assertion last week that “No woman is illegal … and no man either.”

The issue of immigration has taken center stage in the lead up to Saturday’s caucus here. The candidates last night on MSNBC were set to debate issues affecting minorities.

As Mrs. Clinton knocked on doors as part of a canvass operation in Las Vegas on Thursday, a man shouted to her that his wife is illegal, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Her “no woman is illegal” response used language almost identical to that used by liberal Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich at an Iowa immigration forum less than two months ago, the same setting in which she was booed for not committing to give illegals a path to citizenship within the first 100 days of her administration.

Mr. Kucinich, of Ohio, told the crowd in both English and Spanish, “There are no illegal human beings.”

“We must give those who come to this country a path to legalization,” he said, to loud applause.

Mrs. Clinton, pressed twice, would only say the pathway would be a “high priority for me.”

“You’ve got to get Congress to pass the legislation, and the president to do as much as possible, which I will do,” she said.

On the Iowa campaign trail in a town called Nevada this fall, Mrs. Clinton said the government must “get people to come out of the shadows.”

“If they commit a crime, we would deport them immediately, put them on a plane, take them back to where they came from,” she said.

But in Nevada, where she held a “Juntos Con Hillary, Una Vida Mejor” rally (“A better life with Hillary”), she promises action and is openly courting Hispanic voters.

The Review-Journal quoted Mrs. Clinton as saying Thursday after the neighborhood canvass, “We’ve only talked to a few people, but each of them talk about some part of the problem we are confronting. This is a problem that is only going to get worse if we don’t address it.”

In her regular campaign answer to immigration questions, Mrs. Clinton often said that “demagogues” are degrading the debate, and she rattled off the specifics that would come with what she called an unrealistic process of deporting the millions who are in the United States illegally.

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