Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that U.S. should send a clear message that the illegal immigrant children who have been surging across the border will be sent home.
Mrs. Clinton, speaking during a town hall hosted by CNN, said the children should receive the best possible medical care, but should be return to their home countries if their relatives can be located.
“They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who the responsible adults in their family are because there are concerns about whether all of them can be sent back, but I think all of them that can be should be reunited with their families,” she said, adding that the United States must do more to confront the violence in the region and strengthen border security. “But we have to send a clear message that ‘Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean your child gets to stay. We don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.”
Her comments come as her former boss, President Obama, is trying to figure out a strategy for grappling with the surge of children. Vice President Joseph R. Biden will visit Guatemala, one of three countries the children are fleeing, later this week to urge parents not to send their children. But the administration has been reluctant to categorically say all illegal immigrants will be sent home.
Mrs. Clinton is thought to be laying the foundation for a presidential run, and is in the midst of a book tour.
Mrs. Clinton also said the nation must pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.
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