The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Dan Balz's Take

Clinton's Answers on Immigration Grant License to Criticize

Clinton barnstorming in Amana, Iowa yesterday. (Reuters).

MUSCATINE, IOWA--Immigration continues to roil the Democratic presidential race.

A week after Hillary Clinton stumbled over a question about whether she favored giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens, she and her campaign are still dealing with the aftermath -- and her rivals show no sign of letting her slip away from the subject. Clinton is still approaching the issue as one that holds potentially great peril for her should she become the Democratic nominee next year.

Clinton unintentionally helped fuel the controversy with her Democratic rivals on Tuesday when she did an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley. She provided a lengthy and inconclusive answer to the same question she was asked at the Philadelphia debate a week ago, bringing a swift rebuke from Barack Obama's campaign.

That came hours after Obama himself dismissed comments earlier in the week by former President Bill Clinton, who compared the criticism of his wife over the immigration issue to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacks on John F. Kerry in 2004.

Let's start with Clinton's CNN interview, which came one week after she was asked whether she supports New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give illegal immigrants drivers licenses. Crowley asked her question this way: "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 responded this way: "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."

As Clinton continued, Crowley interjected to say, "But you see why people think that you are not answering the question." Clinton then responded by saying, "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."

Her opponents said after the debate that what Clinton was asked was a relatively straightforward question that could be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." But the candidate's husband doesn't see it that way. He was in Nevada earlier this week and lit into his wife's critics.

"I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again," Clinton told a union audience on Monday. He compared the attacks on his wife by Obama, John Edwards and Chris Dodd to the television commercials aired against Kerry in 2004 and GOP ads targeting former Georgia senator Max Cleland in the 2002 campaign.

The former president's comments drew widespread, though private, reaction from strategists in rival campaigns, who argued that he had dramatically exaggerated the criticism his wife had received and had stretched credulity with his Swift Boat analogy.

A senior Clinton aide was quoted as saying the former president's remarks were neither helpful to his wife's candidacy nor was he speaking for the campaign. Another official later tried to distance the campaign from the suggestion that officials were trying to distance the candidate from her husband.

Obama told the Associated Press Tuesday that he was "stunned" by the former president's comments. He said what prompted the criticism at the debate was Clinton's apparent contradiction during the debate -- seemingly answering both yes and no on the question of the drivers licenses. "How you would then draw an analogy to distorting somebody's military record is a reach," he said.

Shortly after Clinton appeared on CNN, Obama spokesman Bill Burton issued an even tougher rebuke of the Democratic front-runner. "It's absurd to compare a simple yes or no question about immigration that Senator Clinton still won't answer seven days after the debate to the despicable Republican attacks against John Kerry and Max Cleland's patriotism," he said. "Senator Obama believes that to truly stand up to the Republican attack machine, we have to be honest and straightforward about where we stand on the major issues facing America."

During a town hall meeting in Iowa on Tuesday, Clinton got a question about the issue from who woman who wanted to know what she would do about the problem as president. Clinton spent more than six minutes outlining her views in support of comprehensive immigration reform and at one point said, "We've turned it into a great political football and people are scoring all kinds of political points."

At that point she appeared to be critical of conservatives who have fought against comprehensive reform, which she argued is the only practical way to solve the problem of porous borders and deal with the 12 million undocumented workers here in the country. She said those who have advocated rounding everybody up and deporting them would effectively turn the United States into a "police state" that would be intolerable.

Clinton's long answer to the immigration question during Tuesday's town hall meeting underscored why she does not want to deal with the issue in 30-second ads, debate lightning rounds or yes-or-no answers. The issue is complex, as those who have tried to craft a legislative solution have learned painfully, and politically charged. But there is no sanctuary on immigration for candidates along the campaign trail this year. John McCain learned that last spring and Clinton is coming to terms with that reality now.

--Dan Balz

Posted at 2:05 PM ET on Nov 7, 2007  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
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I grant you that illegal immigration is a complex issue, but Hillary was faced with a situation where, whichever side she came down on she'd alienate supporters. Both Clintons have always tried to be all things to all people, and as a result, alienate just about everyone. I suspect Bill would have used the issue to his advantage as a "Sister Soljah" moment. Hillary doesn't have his political instincts and instead made a hash of it. Her campaign's post-debate actions only compounded the problem. I believe that many people are supporting Hillary because of name recognition and a belief that she's a winner. If she continues to look vulnerable, wishy-washy and slick that support will evaporate quickly. Voters are fickle- just ask Howard Dean.

Posted by: jirish1957 | November 14, 2007 1:47 PM

To: pasifikawv

Whehter someone sneaks across the border or overstays a visa, that person is still in violation of federal law. You can sugarcoat your argument as much as you want, but the bottom line is that these people are not legally present in the United States. If the argument you would like to propose is that "these individuals are not entering illegally, they are simply over-staying their visas," maybe the government should cut out the visa program. For as long as I can remember, I have heard the old addage "one bad apple can spoil the bunch." If these individuals continue violating federal law, maybe no one should be given the opportunity to come here.

As for your comments regarding the American workforce: at any point in the year, the US has at least a 4-6% unemployment rate. Out of 300 million people, that is 12-18 million people without jobs. Why do we need to continue flooding the market with unskilled workers from other countries, when we have American citizens and legally resident aliens going without work?

Furthermore, why do we need to continue driving the wages down of unskilled American workers, to line the pockets of corporate America and business owners? Make no mistake, individuals do not hire illegal aliens b/c they are sympathetic. Individuals hire illegal aliens to make a larger profit and exploit their workers. Don't turn this discussion into anything more than it is--exploitation of human beings. Instead, these workers could stay in their own countries, and help build their own economies.

Lastly, the reason we use the term "illegal alien," is because that is the term found in the US Code. The term "undocumented alien" or "undocumented worker" on the other hand, is not found in any description of these indivudals by the US Congress.

Posted by: run477 | November 8, 2007 2:01 PM

Illegal Aliens and Immigration is NOT the same thing. 80% of the American people want an end to anarchy!

Illegal aliens are criminals, those who hire them are criminals and those who aid-and-abet them are criminals.

Illegal aliens in America have NO rights. We are required by law to arrest and prosecute, deport them. (Title 8 U.S. Code) To report illegal aliens call the DHS National Hotline 1 866 DHS 2ICE. (1-866-347-2523)

No, matter your political party affiliation, and setting aside your thoughts on issues. We all need to remember what it is to be an American Citizen. We need to make sure our elected representatives obey their Oath of Office and keep their Oath of Allegiance. See Know whom you are voting for.

Posted by: DrColes | November 8, 2007 1:39 PM

Lets face it, the Dems cynically want 15 million new voters once they get the illegals legalized and they salivate about the possibility. It was indeed pathetic that this hag had to get her corrupt husband to come to her rescue and lambast the media for having the audacity to ask her a yes or no question. The Dems post-McGovern haven't given us a normal candidate when one thinks of kooks like Carter, Dukakis, Kerry and all the rest of the refugees from the 60's. Now we get Billary - what is the DNC thinking??

Posted by: birvin9999 | November 7, 2007 08:29 PM


Yes, yes . . . you are right . . . that is why Bush pushed immigration reform so hard in Congress this past year, yes.

What are Republicans thinking? I guess they are happy with having Dumbo as President and selling off the country to China - you seen that trade imbalance, the depressing dollar, the 1 trillion debt to China courtesy of the Iraq War, the dubious food products, the contaminated toys . . .yes, Republicans are happy keeing the Chinese happy, yes . . .

Posted by: vmrg1974 | November 8, 2007 10:21 AM

There aren't any "yes or no" answers that apply to our country as a whole in the real world only the world of the media who get to ask questions and stipulate a "yes or no" answer. In the real world issues are much more complex and multi-faceted. I would hope the people of this country can see through the smoke screen that is being created to confuse our rational thinking processes.

Posted by: vscampbell | November 7, 2007 11:28 PM

For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, GlobalCorp, La Raza, and MALDEF are financing this election and they want NAFTA and AMNESTY and NO BORDER. The Democrats and Republicans are continuing to develop an unprecedented level of cooperation in their attempts to get these voters and their money.

So, American Citizens are irrelevant. Hillary is fourth of a Bush/Clinton Partnership to DESTROY AMERICA. Bush Sr. started NAFTA. Bill Clinton signed it in to law. Bush Jr. expanded NAFTA/SPP/NAU while simultaneously letting 38 million Mexicans and potential terrorists walk uninhibited across our southern border and co-authoring the Immigration Bill which would make those 38 million criminal invaders citizens.


Posted by: CitizenWeeping | November 7, 2007 11:08 PM

your tax dollars working for

bushCO und CRONERStag drug trafficking teams...

A Blackwater camp on the border may be a covert attempt to militarize the border without going through congressional oversight or public debate. A so-called "training camp" could probably also function as an operational base. Perhaps Blackwater will obtain government contracts to patrol the border, gradually edging out US agents and putting border security into the hands of a private army away from public scrutiny.

And Blackwater could run immigrant detention camps using the same methods they use in the Middle East. Even if this is not the plan, the Mexicans would have good reason to suspect this motivation.

The proposed training camp is located near international

drug supply routes

controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel.



who could have guessed??? not you little washingtonian p*ssies going to his shyyttehouse soirees....punters

.AMERICA THANKS YOU SPINELESS brownnosers!!!.fred and david you know who I'm talkin 'bout.


The remote, mountainous terrain is like Afghanistan, where Blackwater has years of experience running covert operations.

Six miles from the proposed Blackwater camp, northern Mexico has a serious problem with "Men in Black" who coincidentally look, dress, and act just like the Blackwater people. In Mexico, the Men in Black are kidnappers, corrupt police officers, fake federal agents, or Zetas, a narco-paramilitary group. Although Americans may still be swallowing the argument that Blackwater is a "military auxiliary" outfit, the Mexicans are not fooled about who the Men in Black are, what they do, and who they work for. That these same people are now camped out on the US border, or are somehow involved in border enforcement, will lack credibility in Mexico...

George W. Bush wanted

AMNESTY w/no background he could fill the border patrol with

Latino DEATHSQUADS....and cut down on his drug trafficking losses....

seal the borders,

stop outsourcing.




go to Detroit, go to Gary INDIANA, go to furniture country in North Carolina, Textile Country in North Carolina...

empty towns...

eveyone doesn't want to work at Wal Mart.


Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 10:07 PM

Politicians and Americans for that matter should take a look at "American Harvest." Its a non-partisan feature length documentary about immigration as it relates to agriculture. It presents the facts as they are without political bias.

American Harvest Synopsis

Anti-immigration sentiment sweeps across America. A journey from Florida to New York, including a trip to the Mexican border, reveals the lives and issues of legal and illegal migrants and farmers working toward a better life. Is the immigration system in America flawed? Immigrants are dying to feed America.

American farmers and agriculture rely on immigrants to do jobs that Americans won't do or feel that are simply beneath them. Some only see the problems in the news from the perspective of those extreme points of view of the left and the right side of our political system.

Discrimination of immigrants has existed in the United States since the English persecuted the Irish. It was once generally considered that if you were Greek or Southern Italian you were not white.

American Harvest points out the inconsistencies of the current policy on immigration. See the changing face of immigrant America as it relates to Agriculture.

Follow legal and illegal farm workers and the farmers caught in the middle of a flawed immigration policy.

Posted by: nyfilmmaker | November 7, 2007 9:25 PM

another quick aside:


a dependancy on them, is _your_ problem.

if manufacturing wasn't outsourced it wouldn't be as big of a problem but it certainly is with the decreasing amount spent on the marginalized who are citizens... we don't need more people taking a bite out of a much smaller apple than existed just 20 years ago....


ARRESTING EMPLOYERS is a quick way of solving it.

you also have to STOP OUTSOURCING, and to treat outsourced manufacturing as IMPORTED GOODS... with tarrifs, to prefer in_country manufacturing...

what's so hard about that, anyone telling you they can't do it,

needs to move their whole company overseas and let an AMERICAN take their place...

capiche' ????

there are NO SIMPLE SOLUTIONS, there _ARE_ sets of solutions...

and every set of solutions will make someone unhappy...

how do you choose the best suite of solutions ??? Make the most people happy....not just the fricking lobbyists....

F. Them.

permanently, no lobbyists allowed in CONGRESS or CONGRESSIONAL offices....

Israels LOBBYISTS set foreign policy for CONDO_SLEEZY RICE, OY VEH !!!!

Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 9:11 PM

so really,

see how easy it is to level the playing field...

let's deal with reality, and important issues...

_ILLEGALS_ are important

__________________ARREST THEIR EMPLOYERS_____________

and the problemo will be back in Tia Juana by next Monday....

Adios Pedro....

stop outsourcing.

treat outsourced goods manufacturedin other countries for AMERICAN owners as

__________________IMPORTED GOODS____________________

bring back the MIDDLE CLASS, bring back manufacturing jobs....

stop outsourcing,



Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 9:02 PM


$150 MILLION A YEAR IN U.S. of A. taxpayer funds, TO PROP UP A moron Pakistan...we give him that much money...


$760 MILLION A DAY TO PROP UP ANOTHER DICkTATOR and the worlds most hated man....his hienieous_ness, georgie Worgie [ subhuman ] Bush...and he lives in this country...

the world knows what he is, but somehow the media hasn't managed to tell the people in his own country what a stupid selfish cow he is...


Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 8:49 PM

There's another excellent proposal from Gov Spitzer that is getting no attention and shame on Tim Russert for not mentioning it in the course of the debate last week. Essentially, currently licensed and US-passported drivers will get a "blue-stripe" variant of the NY driver license, indicating to Ontario/Quebec/Maritime border patrols their current US passport status. One would not have to always carry one's passport to and from travel in Canada; the NY driver license would be acceptable ID. This would be a huge convenience, and I think 99% of New Yorkers would favor it.

Posted by: JosephCombs | November 7, 2007 8:42 PM

I thing bejeeeeeeeeeeeeezeus told George W. it was okay to torture people as long as their skin color was darker than his....

'course the bejeeeeeeeeeezeus BoyWonder has been talking to is purported to have cloven hoves and a pointy red tail...

and eyes that glow in the dark...

it was reported that Jeff GAnnoon was last seen holding his staff....ooooo la la...

I understand Karl likes to be greased too...

Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 8:37 PM

a small aside,

Jeff Gannon, a male prostitute visited the Whitehouse on a regular basis with the Presidente' by fraud's blessing and Karl Rove's missing emails and Alberto lying Gonzales...what NSA wiretapping? blessings...

he pretended to be a reporter, he gave and recieved BJ's for years...

if the RapE the PUBlIC because we CAN party , the Larry Craig magic hands G(ay) O(ld and wrinkled) P(arty)

were to actually value morals, and propriety _that_ would have been front page news...

the party that took homo phobia to a new level....actually is homosexual as a preferred way of being...

that is news....

why hasn't it been covered ????

SEARCH ON Jeff Gannon, Whitehouse

who was trading favors with Jeffie was it Karly, Georgie or should I say it Dickie ??? or Donnie???? or was it Alberto on his knees playing hide the salaami...

we want to's important !!!!!!


Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 8:34 PM

At least in New York, resident aliens from, say, Canada, Sri Lanka, or wherever generally keep their home province or country driver licenses. Gov Spitzer recognizes that the single greatest source of new New Yorkers is from among those who have already chosen to live and work here. A driver license is an important part of "anchoring" those decisions and those talents. All he is doing is replacing NY driver licenses now in Florida with 40- to 50-year younger drivers. It's very smart pro-growth policy.

Posted by: JosephCombs | November 7, 2007 8:32 PM

Lets face it, the Dems cynically want 15 million new voters once they get the illegals legalized and they salivate about the possibility. It was indeed pathetic that this hag had to get her corrupt husband to come to her rescue and lambast the media for having the audacity to ask her a yes or no question. The Dems post-McGovern haven't given us a normal candidate when one thinks of kooks like Carter, Dukakis, Kerry and all the rest of the refugees from the 60's. Now we get Billary - what is the DNC thinking??

Posted by: birvin9999 | November 7, 2007 8:29 PM

It's hilarious to read the comments by all the Clinton haters. They act like know-it-all genius psychics. How can you say that she'll wreck this country when this current idiot has pretty much destroyed it already. Clinton this,Clinton that,the country was prosperous and safer when Bill was Pres but all you can do is write about Monica. It would take too much space here to write about his accomplishments for the good of the people. What exactly has this Repub administrtion done in 7 years that have benefited everyone,not just the rich or Big Business??????? NOTHING!!!!!!!!
It's because Bill put the right people in the positions of doing the right things, not some incompetent crony. Hillary would do the same,not what you morons or Faux News or Rush Limpaugh says she would do.
I'll bet a paycheck that Tim Russert doesn't ask any "gotcha" questions to his candidates to be used as ammo for the Dems. How can you people call her a witch/crook/etc.etc.. You haven't gotten within 5ft of her or talked to her personally to justify your accusations. You just repeat talking points from the neo-clowns but act like you know though. Get real people!

Posted by: jime2000 | November 7, 2007 8:28 PM

ACTUALLY, I think this poster has a better understanding of little george's relationship with Jesus...

valleyforge wrote:


PRES BUSH: This is terrible! Thousands of people at risk from a brutal dictator! Beatings! Abductions! Torture in the dungeons!

JESUS: Are you referring to Myanmar?

PRES BUSH: No, no--the Kingdom of Festerpatomia. Mercenary Mike is crossing the border with a handful of Shadow Warriors to take out the evil Ayatollah! How did you get in here, anyway?

JESUS: Through the ceiling. I didn't want to startle your security guards.
George, we need to talk about National Security.

PRES BUSH: Why, that's my number one priority! The world is full of people who hate us, and--

JESUS: To be honest, George, there are a lot of problems with that kind of thinking. It creates self-fulfilling prophecies, and it turns adversaries into full-fledged enemies. But my real concern is some of your recent actions regarding Iran. Many believe you're trying to escalate things to the point of a military invasion...

PRES BUSH: uh...

JESUS: Because of Iraq, and your policy of pre-emptive aggression, the world already views America as a trigger-happy military bully that preaches peace while making war. They see you as having little regard for human life or suffering, and perceive great hypocrisy in spending billions invading an oil-rich Middle-Eastern country while ignoring the genocides in Africa.
And now, many believe you're trying to completely destabilize the Middle East in order to justify further invasions and long-term occupation, so you can control the oil reserves.

PRES BUSH: uh...

JESUS: It's true, you gained some support for all this by skillful use of language: maximizing the fear of attack from hateful enemies, tying the war to strength and patriotism, and labeling those who disagree as weak and unpatriotic. There are still some in your country who believe this. But in the end, even the most loyal will have to see the wolf beneath the fleece...

PRES BUSH: ah...

JESUS: In the mean-time, look at America: possibly the greatest super-power the world has ever known, lately become a great provoker of fear and promoter of violence. Not only small countries, but China and Russia feel threatened. Can you see where this is going?

PRES BUSH: duh...

JESUS: If you take the effects America is presently having on the world and project them forward, you do not end up with the world described in your presidential speeches. You end up with the world described in "1984." In the name of "national security," America has actually become a destabilizing influence and threat to world peace. Your war in the Middle East has certainly not brought peace--only the fruits of war. And I have to tell you George, war and pre-emptive violence have never been my preferred solutions to serious problems.


JESUS: I'd like you to think about these things. Would you, please?

PRES BUSH: Well...ah... OK.

JESUS: Thank you. In five minutes, the power will return to your computer. You don't have to let me out....


Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 8:27 PM

Much too much to do about...nothing! And not too much to do about...something!

Let no political candidate ever stand vague on any issue, however mundane.

The media pundits and the political hacks have turned their backs on the Iraq war; they have finished with the tortures, water-boarding, lies, corruptions of this administration; they have forgotten the housing bust and ignore the on-coming recession; the stock market plunges; Rudy Giuliani gets in bed with Pat Robertson and does a threesome with his buddy Kerik, as Kerik is being indicted by the grand jury.

And the nation is alive with the drama of a candidate who says she approves of a governor's right to fashion an immigration policy allowing illegals conditional driver's licenses; but will not commit to approving such licenses herself. All this, when some 17 states already do this, including New Mexico (remember Gov. Bill Richardson)? Does this all make sense?

Are we so accustomed to the idiotic conversations with President Bush and his administration that we expect our candidates to be just as idiotic in their answers to our questions? Are we that dumbed-down?

But, yes, it is true. It does make sense. Reality is really not real enough for us after all.

Posted by: paultaylor1 | November 7, 2007 8:20 PM

If she wins, I'll vote for her. But I'll have serious concerns about more gridlock and division in washington. I hope Obama wins the nomination.

Posted by: maq1 | November 7, 2007 7:30 PM

It is only the people of America that have not come to grips with the fact that America will be a Latina country in the next 50yrs. To get a good paying job you will have to be bilingual.
All the men and woman who are running for higher office are aware that winning means garnering the Latina vote.
The legacy of Bush will not be Iraq or torture. The legacy of Bush will be the change of America from a Euoropean centre to a Latin centre.
Hillary may be more honest than her fellow men.

Posted by: JillCalifornia | November 7, 2007 7:05 PM

Bill's fingerprints our showing up more and more on the important issues. Not unexpected when wife and husband are running for the presidency.

Posted by: 2sense | November 7, 2007 6:56 PM

there haven't been two terrorists


there have been two false flag attacks.

there are Saudi bin Laden families involvement, American Bush families involvement and UAE and Kuwiat Families involvement....

the terrorists that attacked won control of the United States by fabricating the "attacks,"


to learn the origins of Karl Roves plan to take over the United States Government...

ps. Karl Rove's real name is Karl Roverer

his father's father was involved in NAZI concentration Kampes


it's a hoot



Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 6:54 PM


you need to understand something...

you're being jockeyed by an issue which is easy to understand...

if you call a spade a spade you will say that


right now the AMERICAN BLUE COLLAR MIDDLE CLASS is out of work in the manufacturing sector....

in the 1980's for the first time in AMERICA's history, the number of WHITE COLLAR workers exceeded the BLUE COLLAR or manufacturing/tool and die/construction workers...

outsourcing has decimated that MIDDLE CLASS group that epitomizes what AMERICA is and should be...

they are struggling to do the jobs that used to fall to the _illegals_ the guys that hung around after picking crops, didn't go home but sent money home...

now the _ILLEGALS_ are competing with the homey's for the only jobs AMERICA hasn't outsourced that still pay well...

painting, roofing, carpentry, carpeting, electrical, plumbing, truck driving, heavy equipment operators...

and sending $45 BILLION DOLLARS OUT OF COUNTRY every year...permanently.

right now, _ILLEGALS_ are money out of country that the out of work manufacturing sector could be doing to earn a decent living...

3 out of 4 former manufacturing employees, are working retail with no benefits

....that means workers that used to make $20+ dollars and hour w/benefits and vacation...

are now working two retail jobs just to keep from losing the house.

check it out, go to Gary Indiana, go to furniture country in North Carolina, or go to Textile country in North Carolina, or go to Detroit Michigan...

or rewatch Farenheit 9/11 where Michael Moore interviews people from a Pennsylvania BLUE COLLAR TOWN where the factories have closed down....

go out personally..


Posted by: afraidofme | November 7, 2007 6:44 PM

Hillary Clinton is exactly right in her response. Immigration is a federal issue. The issuing of driver's licenses is the state's responsibility. I believe that by 2009 the states will have to have a Real ID program in place. Without comprehensive immigration reform the Governor's are faced with how to deal with the undocumented workers that are currently living in their states. (workers that may eventually be labled as 'guest workers if we ever get an immigration bill passed) It's my understanding that Gov. Spitzer is working with Homeland Security to try and come up with a driver's license program that can eventually be molded into the Real ID Act.

If you go to the Social Security Administration site you will find that there is already a program in place for issuing 3 different types of Social Security cards.
1. The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. We issue it to:
U.S. citizens; and

People lawfully admitted to the United States on a permanent basis.

2. The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION." We issue this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.

3. The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, "NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT." We issue it to people from other countries:

Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or

Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

If we can require licenses for all New York drivers then each of those drivers will not only be registered in New York but will also be registered with Homeland Security.

Like i said, Governor Spitzer can't pass immigration reform. But he can take the steps necessary to implement and enforce a driver's license program which falls under his authority.

Unfortunately I think most Americans have not been given all the facts surrounding such a program and have been scared by those insisting that poll workers are not smart enough to tell the difference between red and white when checking licenses to determine if someone is eligible to vote.

I would suggest that all New Yorkers ask themselves just how important it is to them that everyone living in New York be identified? You've already been confronted with two terrorist attacks. How far do you think the Governor should go to try and stop another one?

Posted by: BecJensen1 | November 7, 2007 6:40 PM

"Republicans will make Illegal Immigration the defining domestic issue in the campaign. Both sides risk alienating large groups of voters if they aren't careful. Clinton's nuanced, long-winded, "Kerry-Like" responses are the kiss of death. She needs to be careful.

Posted by: jerseymissouri | November 7, 2007 06:10 PM"

Unfortunatley, big business (who tends to support Republicans) also demand a resolution to the problem. Its a no-win for Republicans and Democrats.

Further, what are Senator Obama's views on illegal immigration when he's faced with the raw economic data of the impact of deporting 12 million people would cause?

Immigration is not a black and white issue. If it is to be resolved A LOT of compromises will have to be made by all involved: private businesses, consumers, illegals, federal and local geovment.

Anyone candidate that says the immigration problem is as easy as "1, 2, 3" or a "yes/no" issue, is just lying through his/her teeth and false smile and rhetoric and will not get my support.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | November 7, 2007 6:40 PM

what is disingenuous is to NOT call illegal aliens ILLEGAL . . . they may be violating laws that call for a civil penalty, but they are obviously NOT legal aliens . . . to not use perfectly good language that is accurate in its description is foolish . . . they are, in fact, illegal aliens

a driver's license IS the national ID card in this country -- when you are asked to "prove" who you are, you are asked to show your driver's license . . . giving an illegal alien a driver's license provides them with an identity in this country and "hides" their status -- if you believe that a driver's license makes you a safe driver, you are naive -- all it says is that you passed a test on a certain day and appeared to be passably able to drive on that day . . . nor does it do anything but say you have insurance on the day you get your license -- those who cannot afford insurance often get it, then cancel it . . . those that can afford insurance get it and keep it -- it doesn't matter if you are in the country legally or not

on the other hand, anyone who insists that we "deport them all" is equally naive -- these are good people (there is no evidence that the distribution of a "criminal element" is any higher among illegal aliens than among the general population) who came here to work and work we can provide them -- fix the system so they have work permits, but do not accomodate ILLEGAL immigration -- that would be contrary to our notion that we are a "nation of laws, not men" and unfair to those who want to enter this country but who do not reside on our borders!

Posted by: RBCrook | November 7, 2007 6:34 PM

Why do reporters continue to use the term "undocumented workers," as in "12 million undocumented workers here in the country?" The correct phrase is "illegal workers."

Plus, how often do we read that many of these "undocumented" workers are documented -- with false identification? The term is just plain incorrect.

Posted by: eavesjunkmail | November 7, 2007 6:29 PM

the one thing about jobs are they are not lifelong so as long as the ecomomy is good there are extra jobs its allways been that way but in a depression all those jobs dry up because nobody eats out no won sleeps in motel rooms we may mow our own lawns to save money thousands become unemployed so the 14 or 30 million more to add to wellfare with fuel over three dollars a gallon and the housing markets its not going to take much to send us over the edge

Posted by: getsix1 | November 7, 2007 6:20 PM

I have been observing the American Experience for more than 3/4 of a century and I STILL don't understand what is confusing about the issue of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. To me it seems relatively simple:

1. Promptly deport all unwanted illegal immigrants once discovered.

2. Just as promptly, issue Guest Worker cards (and Guest Resident cards for their families) for all wanted illegal immigrants once discovered --- thus making them at least temporarily legal.

3. Issue temporary drivers licenses upon request to cardholders (who otherwise meet driver license requirements).

I am well aware this idea will go nowhere. It contains too much common sense and too little political expediency.

D.S. Arthur
La Mesa, CA

Posted by: darthur | November 7, 2007 6:15 PM

Republicans will make Illegal Immigration the defining domestic issue in the campaign. Both sides risk alienating large groups of voters if they aren't careful. Clinton's nuanced, long-winded, "Kerry-Like" responses are the kiss of death. She needs to be careful.

Posted by: jerseymissouri | November 7, 2007 6:10 PM

the last time i looked walking acrossed the border was a crime getting false id a crime using someone elses id a crime getting welfare with a fase id a crime when someone non mexican walks over the southern mexican border most of the time they are shot or never seen again.

Posted by: getsix1 | November 7, 2007 6:09 PM

It certainly wasn't Hilary's finest hour, but hemming and hawing and reserving judgement is typical Senatorial practice, not some major character flaw.

I think it was noteworthy that the question came at the end of the debate, leaving no time to put the others on the hot seat. If Obama, Edwards, Biden and others had to answer, what would they say? Probably the same thing, maybe more elegantly but very likely it would be the same mishmash. I haven't noticed a single one of them volunteer a comprehensive answer in the days since the debate. They just harp on the imprecision of her answer.

Her answer actually is a pretty good one. It makes sense to identify aliens living within a state. Remember, the states are required by the Real ID Act to come up with ID cards suitable for Federal purposes. But they can't deport anyone in any case. The Feds have to step up with a sensible policy instead of allowing the present chaos to persist.

Posted by: Anonymoose | November 7, 2007 6:07 PM

You know for all those who say HC is calculating and sticks her finger in the wind and then makes a we have a situation completely counter to that way of thinking. I am quite sure they know that the polling on this in not on their side but has she changed her position? No. I am also confident that they know that by not putting this story to bed they will continue to have to address it.
HC understands the governor's position. "Understand" being the key word here. Further she "understands" that not every state will have to tackle the issue as they don't have as huge a problem with undocumented workers as New York. I understand her answers to mean that because there hasn't been leadership by the current president on the issue of immigration reform that the states have to try to get a handle on the problem. Giving undocumented workers driver's licenses is one way to do this. Is it the best solution? No. But is it a thoughtful attempt at addressing the issue? Yes.
This story line is a classic example of people's inability to wrap their heads around a complex answer to a complex issue. Honestly, must everything be spelled out as if she is talking to third graders? Grow up people, we live in a world with many difficult and challenging issues facing us and many of these issues do not have blanket solutions, yes or no answers. Hillary Clinton has attempted, in my mind, to address the questions with as much specificity as possible and I am satisfied with her explanation.

Posted by: delliott1961 | November 7, 2007 5:48 PM

If we allow illegal immigration, what is the incentive for anyone to take the legal route? Why even have it on the books? We don't allow companies to import goods and services or money illegally. Why should we allow labor to be imported illegally? Are we happy with a labor market apartheid where cheap labor is extracted from a population without rights as citizens or legal residents? And giving amnesty to those undocumented aliens in order to give them rights just sets the stage for the next wave. I'm fairly progressive on most issues but really question the left on this one.

Posted by: CntrvilleCitoyen | November 7, 2007 5:39 PM

Hillary may still be better off by not answering the question. If Obama wins the nomination, his "yes" answer to immigrants driver's licenses will hurt him more than Hillary's non answer. If she answers "yes," she'll get more flack. The immigration issue will hurt any Democrat next year when the anti-immigration GOP heat up the discussion, Im afraid.

Posted by: Stlbroker1 | November 7, 2007 5:37 PM

It's Whig.

Posted by: zukermand | November 7, 2007 5:31 PM

Hillary belong to the past - triangulation and failed health insurance. She is more and more like the Bush regime on foreign policy, and she is owned by all the New York interests we don't want completely taking us over. Pelosi for President in 2007 - that's the winning ticket.
Experience ? Obama has more experience than Abe Lincoln of Illinois in 1860. Obama/Edwards/Biden - any or two would finally turn the corner. Hillary would be more of the same, and maybe worse, as she tries to prove she really strong.

Posted by: jnyren1 | November 7, 2007 5:31 PM

Lots of debate of Democrats vs Republicans. In the past several years I've noticed party lines disappearing and traditional democratic views being adopted by Republicans and vice versa. Therefore I'm going to bring the Wig party back to America.

'Wig party in 08'

Posted by: sauerkev1 | November 7, 2007 5:30 PM

"He compared the attacks on his wife by Obama, John Edwards and Chris Dodd to the television commercials aired against Kerry in 2004 and GOP ads targeting former Georgia senator Max Cleland in the 2002 campaign."

No, he didn't. Why is Dan Balz trying to mislead his readers?

Clinton said:"We saw what happened the last seven years when we made decisions in elections based on trivial matters. We listened to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff. And when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he'd done in his life. When that scandalous swift boat ad was run against Senator Kerry. When there was an ad that defeated Max Cleland in Georgia, a man that left half his body in Vietnam. Why am I saying this? Because, I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again. "Ya'll raise your hand if you're for illegal immigrants getting a driver's license." So, we then let the Republicans go ahead saying all the Democrats are against the rule of law"

Obviously, he was criticizing Russert and Williams. He made no mention of his wife's opponents in this context.

So, WaPo editors, why is Dan Balz lying to us and why are you letting him?

Posted by: zukermand | November 7, 2007 5:27 PM

The argument that people want to round them up and deport them all is a scare tactic.

Why cant we:

1. seal the border to people coming in.
2. enforce employement laws (i.e. SS check similar to the one held up in court)
3. dont give welfare benefits to illegal immigrants

Result: I think they will go home - they cant get jobs, they cant get welfare - the viable choice is for them to go home.

What is wrong with the president going on television and asking illegal immigrants to go home? Just say - we dont want to arrest you, we just want you to leave and we will allow you to do so peacefully. If you need help getting home - we can help you get home safely, but you will be fingerprinted in case you come back.

Whats unreasonable about that approach of 3 part enforcement of the law and asking them to peacefully go home?

Posted by: hannibal81 | November 7, 2007 5:26 PM

Hillary like Bill and Dubya will do exactly what the CFR tells her to do. She's a patsy without a single thought or intention of having one.

Posted by: eco-pharm | November 7, 2007 5:24 PM

Jeez, Louise, am I the ONLY person who thinks Hillary did a good job answering the original question? The fact that it ends with the two words "illegal immigrants" make it an IED question...deliberately designed to blow up in the answerer's face.

Of course Clinton approves of the idea, only a callous cad would obstruct an immigrant's life by refusing them a license. But callous cads seem to be popping up all over the country like mushrooms.

The real key idea here is "absent a national plan." And absent a national plan how can you not support what the individual states are doing?

What she SHOULD subsequently say, is that she SUPPORTS a FEDERAL plan to SOLVE the immigration issue and put HER issue to rest.

And, believe it or not, all the ridiculous controversy is magically winnowing my choices on who to vote for next year, and those in the media with IED mouths may be surprised that I'm zeroing on Hillary.

The people I think worse of in this stupid tawdry affair are the media.

Posted by: ethanquern | November 7, 2007 5:17 PM

I'm glad to see the former president has time to focus on something other than his ego....oh, wait a minute...apparently not. Unable to contain himself even in the pre-primary campaign (one can only imagine his crotch-clutching zeal at her cabinet meetings) Bill does his, "Hey, there, Bud; nobody talks to the little lady like that but me.." routine. How cute. How bizarre. Here's a little tip for the man from Hope-by-the-Hudson. Sit down, smile, shut up. You're not helping. And for the missus, Sen. Whatever, it's not about simply driving a car. The picture-ID drivers license is the golden key. It is the standard of identification that we use everywhere. To suggest that we'd be better off to have illegals licensed so we'd know who they were in case of an accident and they'd be better trained to drive suggests that you have spent waaaaaayyyy too much time being chauffered. Sen. Dodd was absolutely right at the last blah-blah-woof gathering of the candidates when he said there were other ways to identify someone who runs into your car. What I want to know is where do you stand on a national ID card? Let's stop worrying about how the states are handling it and see what you got for us nationally. Do you go all ACLU and take the position that a national ID card is intrusive of an individual's privacy--or can we have a rational, 21st century dialogue? Here's the deal, Hill...we've had seven long miserable years of gobbledeegook nonsense talk. You start making the same sounds during the campaign and you can look forward to being the the female version of Sen. Byrd in 20 years. Peace.

Posted by: InRealAmerica | November 7, 2007 5:11 PM

we've spent nearly 7 years with an idiot who views everything as either black or white/with me or against me, etc., and now we have a despicable "moderator" (Tim Russert) playing gotcha by insisting that all the candidates give yes or no responses to his pet questions. any attempt at a nuanced answer is quickly pounced on. maybe HRC is not always the most forthcoming of candidates, but at least she gives evidence of recognizing that most issues aren't as simplistic as people like Russert think they should be.

Posted by: eomcmars | November 7, 2007 5:01 PM

I don't think immigration is/should be the main focus here. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of very important issue that can be (and I'm sure will be) raised during the course of the campaign...

What the drivers licenses for illegals question has highlighted is Hillary's unwillingness to provide a straight answer to a specific question. The question itself really becomes irrelevant. This is the polar opposite of how Barack Obama is running his campaign. He's consciously decided to run a straight forward, truthful camppaign where the public is actually given his views. In my opinion, that's the only way the public will be able to make a decision on election day- by knowing the positions of the candidates.

Posted by: kthhrrsn | November 7, 2007 5:00 PM

It's not even her answer that's the problem. It's the waffling mealy mouthed way she puts it.
I take her answer to be this: Failure on the federal level has left the states to deal with a messy and almost intractable problem. She's not going to criticize Gov. Spitzer's way of dealing with it as he's making the best he can of a bad situation. It's not an issue before the Senate so its really immaterial to the race. As she's not governor there's no reason at all for her to second guess Spitzer or say what she would do were governor.
It's kind of funny. I hate Clinton; enough so that I wouldn't vote for her in any circumstances, but I think this is a tempest in a tea cup. It's stupid, and it says something bad about our system and our press that this-- and not any of the other scores of better reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton-- is what's causing her problems. Still anything that might get the Democrats a decent, principled (and electable) candidate like Obama or Edwards can only be for the good.

Posted by: slduncan79 | November 7, 2007 4:54 PM

Why bring McCain into this? At least he was very clear as to exactly what his position was. It didn't pass, but he is straightforward, honest, and courageous about his views on the issues. Those are three adjectives that you will never hear associated with Hillary.

Posted by: Jahswim | November 7, 2007 4:54 PM

Just clearly answer the damn question...jeeez.....

Posted by: MozzMan | November 7, 2007 4:52 PM

I loved Bill Clinton, still do. I was livid when the Repubs proceeded with impeachment proceedings in 1998. I believe he will be remembered as one of the better Presidents of the 20th Century. Hillary is also very intelligent and competent. But she simply illicits great (negative) emotions in so many people. We Dems NEED TO WIN in 2008, and the only candidate that can do that is John Edwards. Feel good votes for Hillary are just going to put another Dubya-type in the White House.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | November 7, 2007 4:45 PM

really??? did you REALLY use the term "illegal aliens"??? What is this FOX news??? I figured the Post was above such trivial insensitive phrases... I guess I was wrong..

Posted by: cinnamon.stick | November 7, 2007 4:43 PM

Wow, check Dpon's comments from way back in the Spring predicting that immigration had the potential to foil a dem victory. I'm sure others said it sooner. Now, she did exactly the worst thing to do, play the fence. She better get right on immigration, that is where the sentiment is. A promise won't do now, she's going to have to lay out a plan.
D.Pon's Road To Immigration Recover:
-5 years of stepped enforcement, we're talking deport at least a million a year for five years, and pass out vouchers.
-In 5 years, once a percentage quota deported, open up a citizenship/employment program based on priority of voucher dates, and spread the balance over 10 year period.
-amnesty for children currently in High School in the United States, give vouchers, automatic Resident Alien status once they graduate high school. After five years of education/employment, no criminal convictions = citizenship.

Posted by: DPoniatowski | November 7, 2007 4:42 PM

This is Hillary's problem: She won't take a stand on important issues. Barack Obama has said he favors it. You can agree or disagree with him, but at least you know where the man stands. Hillary's wish-washy positions on a host of issues makes John Kerry's "I was for it before I was against it" seem downright resolute! Come on, Hillary. Take a stand!

Posted by: kirkd | November 7, 2007 4:42 PM're exactly right. Hillary just triangulates too much. We're going to lose yet another presidential election if she is nominated. Mark my word.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | November 7, 2007 4:41 PM

Isn't it great that Hillary has given you something to write about- only edwards, obama and the press find this interesting.

Hillary answered this in the most intelligent way if you ask voters- my friends think her answer was great-

It is up to a governor in a State to determine what he or she needs to do as long as the federal government doesn't do their job and create a national policy- wouldn't it be nice - as Crowley and you seem to want- for candidates to answer things yes or no. George Bush does that and look where we are-

If you in the press would do your job and get the details on this immigration issue instead of playing "gotcha" will Hillary then even you would understand she is right in the way she answers.

Posted by: peterdc | November 7, 2007 4:39 PM

What a big suprise, a politician is not being straight foward. What else do we expect. The whole system is currupt. The dems promised to end the war when they got into congress - they have not. Why? Because they are gutless. The republicans continue to pray on the fear of idiotic voters. Why? Because it works. There are three candidates in this whole entire race who talk about fundamental change of this system, but guess what? The voters will not vote for them.

Posted by: kdofour2000 | November 7, 2007 4:36 PM

The only comparison that "Bubba" should have made in regards to John Kerry was not the Swift-boat would have been more prudent to compare her response on licensing of illegal immigrants with:
"I voted against the 87 million, before I voted for it"
Those advocating that it's a complex issue and Hillary is 'strong' for giving it some thought.....C''mon...either your for it or against it. Simple as that. 80% of ALL Americans are against it..that includes, dems, repubs, independants. WE ALL KNOW HILLARY WOULD FAVOR IT....BUT HOW DOES SHE DO THAT WITHOUT PISSING OFF 80% of ALL AMERICANS IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS ON A CRITICAL ISSUE.......

Posted by: short1 | November 7, 2007 4:35 PM

Hillary just has too many negatives. Red states in the Rocky Mt. area are turning blue, but when Hillary's name is mentioned it turn's blood red. As I have been saying for nearly a year, the ONLY Democratic candidate that can actually win the White House in 2008 is John Edwards. He is smart, an inspirational orator, a strong advocate for the poor and working class, and HE'S A SOUTHERNER. He's the only candidate that can win in the South. Don't believe me...just ask Clinton, Carter, and LBJ. The only Democrats to win the White House in the last 50 years were from below the Mason-Dixon Line. Okay don't ask LBJ, it's too late for him. But I think I get my idea across.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | November 7, 2007 4:30 PM

Regarding the claim that "The vast majority of undocumented persons in the United States have never violated a criminal law", almost all working illegal aliens are either criminals themselves or contributors to others' illegal activity when they work for someone (illegally), use false or stolen documents, take benefits illegally, etc.

And, they also contribute to political corruption in the U.S. Major banks - and even the FederalReserve - want to profit from the money that illegal aliens send home, i.e., money that was earned illegally.

IOW, those banks want to profit from indirect illegal activity. They also donate to the politicians and far-left racial power groups that enable them to continue profiting from that activity.

So, when you think it through, you'll see that this issue is working to undermine our entire political system.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 7, 2007 4:27 PM

The funny thing is that Hillary has these problems with just about every important issue (Iraq, Iran, etc) but it's only after it becomes so obvious/evidenct on national TV that the media picks up and questions her on it.

Posted by: ohio4580 | November 7, 2007 4:27 PM

merganser - Senator Obama answered the question AT THE DEBATE. When pressed by Russert to say yes or no, he said "yes" he did agree with Spitzer about issuing the licenses.

Posted by: squintz | November 7, 2007 4:21 PM

merganser - Senator Obama answered the question AT THE DEBATE. When pressed by Russert to say yes or no, he said "yes" he did agree with Spitzer about issuing the licenses.

Posted by: squintz | November 7, 2007 4:21 PM

Border Security and Immigration Reform

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the leading advocate for freedom in our nation's capital. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Paul tirelessly works for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. He is known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for his consistent voting record. Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.

Border Security and Immigration Reform

The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked.

This is my six point plan:

Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.

Enforce visa rules. Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law. This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.

No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That's a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.

No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.

End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong.

Pass true immigration reform. The current system is incoherent and unfair. But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation.

This is insanity.

Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.

Veteran's Day Fund Raiser, All are welcome!

Posted by: US-Citizen | November 7, 2007 4:19 PM

It is disingenuous to call all undocumented persons "illegal immigrants." The vast majority of undocumented persons in the United States have never violated a criminal law, but rather, find themselves on the wrong side of an outdated and insufficient federal civil (not criminal) administrative policy. A large percentage of undocumented persons entered our county legally with valid visas and passed through regulated points of entry. Many have US children and deep roots in communities across our land.

Inflexible civil immigration policy has landed our undocumented neighbors in bureaucratic limbo by prohibiting any change of status or visa renewal in-country. Most face certain deportation should they come out of the shadows or even request proper documentation. Federal Administrative Law judges have almost no ability to make individual exceptions to existing immigration policy, regardless of case particulars. Uprooting communities and separating parents from their American children is not in line with our family values.

The US job market demands nearly a half-million additional workers each year to meet labor shortages, yet current policy allows barely 100,000 workers to enter legally. As recently reported by ABC News, many service-oriented small businesses cannot obtain work permission for the number laborers needed and face almost certain bankruptcy due to the crackdown on hiring practices. Chambers of Commerce across the US are denouncing the recent immigration crackdown and workplace raids.

Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security chief, asserts that deporting all foreign-born workers would wreak havoc on our economy and decries the fact that his resources are being used to "chase down maids and landscapers rather than terrorist" and real threats to our national security. Without foreign-born workers willing to risk so much to relocate to the US to fill workplace vacancies, our economic fabric would be in tatters. Undocumented workers should not be demonized but rather provided the means for legal participation in the workforce, and in our local and national economy.

Many undocumented workers pay Social Security and Medicare through payroll deductions but do not receive benefits. Contributions from foreign-born workers are subsidizing these programs - not "draining the system." The IRS has collected billions from undocumented workers who don't seek refunds and many have IRS taxpayer numbers to meet federal and state tax obligations. Immigrants, regardless of status, will pay on average $80,000 per capita more in taxes than they use in government services. The Social Security Administrations holds over $420 billion from undocumented workers ineligible for benefits. Without the contributions from foreign-born workers, our cherished entitlement programs would be even less solvent.

Declaring that "anything less than forced deportation is amnesty" is akin to making dismemberment the only acceptable punishment for taking extra Post-it Notes from the office supply closet. Calling all undocumented persons "illegal immigrants" is akin to calling a grandmother who visits the hospital without her Medicare card an "illegal senior."

Although the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis would have us believe otherwise, "Gestapo" strategies are not acceptable approaches to the immigration crisis. Small fines can be meaningful punishment for those trapped by deficient civil immigration policies, but rounding up every undocumented person or otherwise forcing them to flee our communities and our country is simply not realistic or in line with any sense of moral or social justice we share as a nation.

Faith teaches us that, "when an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born" and reminds us that "we are all sojourners sent out to help other aliens find a place of safety in this world." Our undocumented neighbors have the moral high ground in this crisis, and persons of faith and churches across this land are rightfully joining in their struggle. Whereas the Klan and Neo-Nazis are growing in number having co-opting the arguments of anti-immigrant factions, Catholic and Protestant churches are swelling their ranks with immigrants.

Local jurisdictions should not involve themselves in policing federal administrative policies, but rather call on the federal government to develop a rational, moral, and comprehensive response to the immigration crisis that keeps our nation and our economy strong and growing. Citizens should demand that their local, state, and federal government reject "Gestapo" tactics and encourage our leadership to advocate that our undocumented neighbors be granted a path to open participation in our civil society. Extremist approaches only weaken our civil liberties, misdirect our security resources, and threaten our economic well being.

Posted by: pasifikawv | November 7, 2007 4:13 PM

lobear00: What delight if that were the only thing this depraved president screwed up. He has wrecked the country, diminished the USA in the eyes of the world. His use of English is a well known flop, just like him. Not to mention almost 4000 of our young and healthy people killed and maimed for life so he could play war games for money!

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | November 7, 2007 4:04 PM

Balz, if you would take a few minutes of from your job of being a Republican-allied talking head, and stopped your knee jerk attacks on Clinton, you would have to admit that none of the candidates on either side (besides wacko Tancredo) has a firm position on immigration. It seems your main job of late is to do your part to work into the zeitgeist the notion of Clinton as "flip-flopper"- this while the Republicans are promoting candidates who completely changed their positions on abortion, immigration, taxes, gun control and anything else they are asked about. Your obsession with Clinton, as agenda driven as it is, underscores your bias.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | November 7, 2007 4:04 PM

Hillary continues to duck this issue despite its importance. Obama should not be throwing stones, he has not given his position either. Almost no one is requesting mass deportation. Red herring to duck question. Just want to know what, if anything, you specifically support to enforce laws we already have on the books, and what DHS under your administration will do differently from its current failed policy.

I still cannot tell you what the Democrats' positions are on a lot of issues, not just illegal immigration, just some bromides and generalities. Until I get some answers, there will be no checks from me.

Posted by: merganser | November 7, 2007 4:02 PM

Clinton just lost a vote, when a candidate can pussyfoot around important questions like she has been doing. Sorry Ms. Clinton it just doesn't add up. I am against illegals having driver's licenses in NY or any other state. Too bad the Federal government is so busy using our tax money in Iraq, Iran and Pakastan that they cannot have the funds to keep illegals OUT. We will certainly be open to home bombs in this country, not to mention uninsured drivers and increase in auto accidents. Have insurance 1 day after you get your license and then cancel. My vote is for JOE BIDEN. HE IS AS SMART AS HILLARY (even without Bill) AND A REALLY AS GOOD A MAN AS YOU WILL FIND IN THE POLITICAL ARENA THESE DAYS. My hope is that Canada will open her doors and accept Seniors as well as the younger folks.

As for Rudie there is nothing to say. Zero plus zero = Nothing. Thats him folks

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | November 7, 2007 3:54 PM

When you photographers start showing Hillarity in a skirt - she calls herself a "girl" - instead of trousers like her husband sometimes wears I'll begin to consider her a real candidate. Hey, why not ask her about Vince Foster or are you going to leave that one for real time?

Posted by: usarownow | November 7, 2007 3:54 PM

This issue is really all about Senator Hiilary's ability to act in office. Whether you like him or not, President Bush said one of his main duties in office is to be "the decider". We, the people, elect him/her to do a good job of that. Anybody who desires to be president has to be clear with the American people about how they will decide. So, my comment about Senator Hillary is what does this vacillation (its in the record for everyone to see, she did say both yes and no) around granting licenses to illegal immigrants say about her ability to be president? She's had plenty of time to think and prepare for this. How much more time does she need to weigh all the facts? When it comes to dealing with hostile countries, she will have to be clear, "decisive" and act in a timely manner. She won't be able to agree and disagree on an issue at the same time. She will often need to make a decision "now" (e.g Cuba missle crisis). And the world will be watching.

Posted by: | November 7, 2007 3:52 PM

Hillary is the same person as George Bush and the Likes of Dick Cheny. Hillary twice now has voted the way Bush told her to vote.
Hillary is playing a game. She is no more a Democrat than Condeleeze Rice is a mormon.
Remember the saying that the Ignorant Bush tried to remember and screwed it up.
These people are cut from the same disgusting seed.

Posted by: lobear00 | November 7, 2007 3:46 PM

In the absence of any comprehensive federal policy, it seems perfectly reasonable to allow the states to address the problem in their own way.

It's called Federalism.

Posted by: JoeCHI | November 7, 2007 3:20 PM

I agree with the person who commented before me. HRC giving a yes or no answer on issues dealing with immigration would lock her in to an issue that is not readily solved. president bush thought he could enforce his decision on the issue and failed. fact is, the complexity of illegal immigration requires realistic consideration from all points and ultimately, will require compromise on legislation that everyone can live with. not one person/party/sector is going to get everything they want regarding how to deal with illegal imm...that is a fact. the criticism againt HRC that she is hedgey, deflective, vauge, etc. only tells me that she will give careful thought and consideration to all the facts, and then weigh the balance on the best approach to take on whatever the issue is. it would have been nice if our current president had been half as thoughtful about taking us into a war that he neither new enough about nor cared to study enough in terms of what the consequences would be for our country. To me, that is not strong leadership, that is careless (black and white) thinking and the current mess in Iraq now reflects.

Posted by: ogdeeds | November 7, 2007 3:18 PM

Dan Balz:

Why don't we start by you a) researching this issue to find out all the huge glaring (to me) gaps in everything Hillary says, and then b) asking her or her people about it.

For instance, no national figure is advocating mass roundups; that's what's called a "straw man argument".

And, she portrays "reform" as a panacea, when in fact it would make the situation far worse and there would still be plenty of previous and newly-arrived illegal aliens around.

How about doing some real reporting for a change? Or, would you rather talk baseball?

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | November 7, 2007 3:03 PM

Why does driver's licenses for immigrants suddenly become the end-all-be-all test for HRC's (or anyone's) position on immigration? How is this representative of a serious debate about this issue? Answer: It isn't.

Immigration is a good hot-button which can be abstracted into tough, simplistic "gotcha" questions. In this case, it's not totally abstract as several states do what Spitzer is proposing, but you can look at thousands of one-off questions about more complex issues, e.g.:

-- Would you raise the retirement age to make Social Security more solvent?

-- Would you continue development of tactical nuclear weapons?

-- Would you require the energy industry to participate in a Cap & Trade system at a fixed rate set by the government to address gloabal warming?

All of these things might be yes or no depending on the detail, but all of them would be things that in isolation DON'T solve the larger more complex problems that they partially address. Selling them to the American public requires they be part of a comprehensive policy solution, that actually addresses the overall problem, with shared sacrifice and evidence that compromises have been made wherever possible.

Even then issues like immigration become a destructive political football, and they are CERTAIN to become that if debated in tiny, incomplete bites like this!!

To keep attacking HRC on this like it's her fault for that political reality is total BS and puts in question the sincerity of those passing judgement.

Posted by: DC_Progress | November 7, 2007 2:46 PM

While the campaigns spar over who can score the most points with this issue, I have some (unsolicited) advice for the candidates. How about starting with enforcing existing law? My wife, who works in human resources, is told by the Social Security Admin to hire anyone who shows a Social Security Card - independant of how suspicious the cards might look. If illegal immigration is the problem its purported to be, doesn't it start, essentially, as a supply and demand problem? If jobs are easily come by independant of one's immigration status, people will continue to come here for work - independant of legality.

In other words, the issue isn't driver's licenses, or even legislative reform. Its about enforcing the laws that are already on the books today.

Posted by: bsimon | November 7, 2007 2:24 PM

As a Democrat, I am still unsatisfied with Clinton when she talks on camera about this. So where does she stand. Would she had voted for it if she had to? Answer that question. That is Hillary's biggest problem, the faliure of taking a firm stance. And this comes from someone who will vote for her if she wins the nomination (though I hope either Obama or Biden does).

Posted by: mcmahon10 | November 7, 2007 2:18 PM

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