Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign has hired an illegal immigrant “Dreamer” to work on her 2016 bid, activists said Wednesday, in a move that sees the Democratic front-runner check off yet another wish list item for Hispanic voters.
Lorella Praeli is in the U.S. under President Obama’s 2012 deportation amnesty for Dreamers, or young adult illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. As part of that amnesty, she has tentative legal status and a work permit, so it is legal to hire her — but she is still not a lawful presence.
Immigrant rights advocates cheered the move as historic, though they warned Mrs. Clinton not to use the symbolic hire as a token gesture.
“We congratulate Lorella for her new position as she has unquestionably demonstrated an ability to get the job done and commitment to the Dreamer and immigrant community,” said the Dream Action Coalition, run by Dreamers. “Nevertheless, we urge the Hillary campaign to allow her to continue the fight for our community she will be representing and not just be a spokesperson for campaign rhetoric.”
Ms. Praeli, who used to work at United We Dream, an advocacy group that organized the hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, will work on Hispanic outreach for Mrs. Clinton.
Several members of Congress have previously hired Dreamers to work in their offices, and Mr. Obama has hosted Dreamers at the White House and in the first lady’s box at State of the Union speeches at the Capitol.
Neither the rival Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont nor a spokesperson for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — who also is considering challenging Mrs. Clinton — responded to questions about whether they would hire Dreamers on their staffs.
Mrs. Clinton earlier this month met with Dreamers in Las Vegas in a forum designed for the former secretary of state to lay out her immigration plans. She detailed an expansive list of actions she would take, including trying to provide lawyers for illegal immigrants working their way through the immigration courts, curtailing detention of illegal immigrants and trying to expand Mr. Obama’s amnesties.
That last promise drew pushback from the Obama White House, which said it had already gone as far as possible under the law, and which cast doubt on whether Mrs. Clinton would find room for any more expansion.
Mr. Obama’s own November effort to expand the Dreamer amnesty to millions of parents has been halted by a federal judge, who said the president broke the law in circumventing Congress and attempting a unilateral move without following the regular rule-making process.