At least one Hispanic advocacy group is questioning Hillary Rodham Clinton’s commitment to their stance on immigration after former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer confessed he canceled driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants to save her 2008 presidential campaign.
In an interview with former top Obama strategist David Azelrod, Mr. Spitzer said the Clinton campaign called him in 2007 and told him to kill the proposal to make the issue go away. Mrs. Clinton was the junior Democratic senator from New York at the time, and had stumbled in a debate when trying to answer whether she supported the policy or not.
“Dreamers and Latinos are truly disappointed that Hillary Clinton would throw the immigrant community under the bus, especially since she has criticized others for doing the same,” said Carlos Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition, a group of illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”
The group said Mrs. Clinton’s record “is becoming increasingly suspect” as she tries once again to win Democrats’ presidential nomination.
Hispanic-rights advocates have been dismayed as they’ve seen both parties repeatedly experiment with legalization and other pro-immigrant bills, only to back off when they believe the politics have become too difficult.
The issue of licenses for illegal immigrants was a hot political debate in 2007, coming just a few years after the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers used valid licenses to board the planes they turned into missiles, killing some 3,000 Americans.
Mrs. Clinton initially danced around the issue, taking both sides. She eventually announced she would not support states issuing the licenses.
She has has reversed her stance in this campaign and now says she would support such licenses.
Mrs. Clinton’s two major opponents for the Democratic nomination argue they’ve been consistent on Hispanic-rights issues throughout their careers, taking stands even when they weren’t popular.