The Washington Times - November 6, 2007, 05:25PM
Hillary Rodham Clinton Candy Crowley SEE RELATED:

CROWLEY: If I wrote a story that said: ‘Absent a broad illegal immigration bill, Hillary Clinton agrees about giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants,’ is that correct?\ \ \ CLINTON: No. What I have said is that I support what governors are trying to do. And governors are on the front lines because of the failures to get comprehensive immigration reform.\ \ \ There are already eight states that issues driver’s licenses without any verification of citizenship. That is a decision that the governors and legislatures and the people of those states have made. I understand …\ \ \ CROWLEY: But you see why people think …\ \ \ CLINTON: Well, but you know, Candy …\ \ \ CROWLEY: … that you are not answering the question.\ \ \ CLINTON: Well, but you know, Candy, well, but I think that if you go back and look at the complexity of this issue, I don’t think a lot of these hard questions lend themselves to raising your hand. And I know that that’s easier in a 30-second context to try to do.\ \ \ I think the fact that governors are being forced into this position is really unfortunate. They should not be making immigration policy. The federal government should be making immigration policy, and that’s what I’m going to try to do as president again, and I do not believe that in the context of federal immigration reform that that would be an issue that governors would have to contend with.\ \ \ CROWLEY: So it’s — I know it’s not a yes-or-no question to you, but you’ve had some time here, and the problem is that people can’t quite get a hold of is: for a governor at this time, do you think it’s a good idea for them to offer driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants?\ \ \ CLINTON: It depends upon what state they’re in. It depends upon what they think the risks are. You know. A governor of New York that has a lot of immigrants, many of whom we know are not their legally, has to worry about security. A governor of another state where that’s not a problem, doesn’t.\ \ \ This issue has been so politicized and I understand that because you can score points. You can score all kinds of political demagogic points but the fact is if we don\0x2019t have comprehensive immigration reform, which for me includes toughening the borders, much harder sanctions on employers, doing more to help local communities that are stuck with the bill on all kinds of services. And bringing immigrants out of the shadows.\ \ \ And if they ever committed a crime where they came from or here, immediately deport them. But for the others, have a tough path to earned legalization. Pay back taxes. Pay fines. Learn English. Wait in line.\ \ \ And once you got somebody on the record registered, deported the criminals, instead they had to keep on the right side of the law, keep making a living and do all of these other things I’ve outlined, that would be the appropriate time to give them some kind of license.\ \ \ But I understand — I’m not going to be second-guessing governors who have to do the hard work of figuring out what’s best for their state.
— Stephen Dinan, national political reporter, The Washington Times