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Hillary Clinton on Immigration: Democrat Candidate Talks Voting for 'Barrier' to Prevent 'Illegal' Immigrants

First Posted: Nov 14, 2015 06:13 PM EST
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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raised some eyebrows from Latino advocacy groups for using the term "illegal immigrant" during a town hall event in New Hampshire on Nov. 9.

At the town hall, a woman asked, "I was wondering what you think about like securing the Mexican border with some of the illegal immigrants that come in? Just wondering."

Clinton, who served as U.S. senator for New York, said she voted to use funds to "build a barrier" to halt immigrants from entering the U.S.

"I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in," said Clinton. "And I do think you have to control your borders. But I think that it's also true that we need to do more to try to, No. 1, deal with the people who are already here, many of whom have been here for decades. Because it is just never going to happen that we're going to round-up and deport 11 or 12 million."

Clinton would then reference Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to deport all 12 million undocumented immigrants from the U.S. The former secretary of state said such mass deportations proposals will never happen and "an unnecessarily provocative thing to say," regardless of the wall's size.

Clinton acknowledged that most of the recent immigration flows are not from Mexicans but from Central American and Latin America. She said more resources have to be allocated into those countries to control the levels of violence and drug dealers affecting the area.

But her remarks about building a barrier and the term "illegal" were quickly criticized.

United We Dream, an immigrant-youth led organization, blogged that using the term "illegal" is "dehumanizing." UWD also said her "bragging" about voting for a barrier "is not too different from what Republican candidates say."

Clinton's Latino Outreach Director Lorella Praeli previously worked for UWD.

Speaking on PBS station KLRU's "Overheard with Evan Smith," fellow Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley spoke about Clinton.

"We have some differences in perspective and in outlook," said O'Malley. "I said that we should accept the Central American refugee kids that were coming to our country, fleeing death gangs. She said, 'send them back.' Before one audience, she will talk about immigration reform and the need for it. Before another audience, she'll use the term 'illegal immigrants' and boast about having voted to build a wall and barbed wire fence."

Also running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination is Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Leading up to the second Democratic presidential primary debate, he released new details on his immigration reform plan. Similar to Clinton and O'Malley, Sanders said he would take "extensive executive action" to further address immigration if Congress continues to fail on passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Sanders said his plan would "essentially" implement the provisions from the 2013 Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill, which was also received support from Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Clinton, O'Malley and Sanders will participate in the second Democratic presidential debate on Saturday night from Iowa. Following the Paris terror attacks, the debate will discuss topics on foreign policy.

Must Read: Hillary Clinton Calls for Immigrant Detention Reforms, Receives Support From National Groups 

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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