Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a past critic of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton’s position on immigration, has formally endorsed the former secretary of state in her bid for the White House.
Mr. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, gave his formal endorsement in an opinion piece for Univision published Monday, hours before he is scheduled to introduce Mrs. Clinton at the National Immigrant Integration Conference in Brooklyn.
“Hillary is with the Latina community and I am with her,” Gutierrez wrote in a translation of the Spanish-language opinion piece. “She will do what is best for Latinos and all Americans. Hillary is poised to propel the country forward, and I’m proud to be with her.”
The endorsement comes after Mr. Gutierrez was critical of Mrs. Clinton’s previous immigration positions. In 2003, Mrs. Clinton said she was “adamantly against illegal immigration,” only to say on the 2015 campaign trail that the use of “illegal immigrant” was a “poor choice of words.”
“As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names, and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected,” Mrs. Clinton said in a Facebook chat last month.
In 2007, while Mrs. Clinton served in the Senate, she voted down an amendment that has been blamed for effectively killing comprehensive immigration reform efforts at the time. On the 2015 trail, however, she’s been an advocate for comprehensive reform.
“I think that a comprehensive path to citizenship to reform our immigration system is the only answer,” Mrs. Clinton said.
She’s also flip-flopped on whether states should issue drivers licenses to the undocumented from the 2008 presidential cycle to the 2016 race.
“Look, everyone is evolving,” Mr. Gutierrez said in a May interview, citing Mrs. Clinton’s evolving policy stances on immigration. “Do you remember in 2008 and they asked Hillary a question about drivers’ licenses for the undocumented? And she was paralyzed. ‘I don’t, know, I don’t think so.’”
The congressman’s endorsement was decided after this spring, when the Clinton campaign started focusing on immigration policy and rolled out a more progressive stance on the issue, Buzzfeed News reported.
Critics say Mrs. Clinton’s revised positions on immigration is political pandering to win over the key Hispanic vote.
“Secretary Clinton’s willingness to say or do anything reached new levels in 2015 when she completely abandoned her previous positions in order to win a primary,” said Jeff Bechdel, America Rising PAC communications director. “While not surprising, it’s a clear indication Clinton is a carefully poll-tested politician, and that’s exactly why a majority of voters say they don’t trust her.”