Former President Bill Clinton attacked “nativist” rhetoric from Republicans in a New York Times column Monday, seemingly reneging on his own immigration views from 20 years ago.
“The future of undocumented immigrants — including the ‘Dreamers’ and millions of people who are working hard and paying taxes — is uncertain at a time when our work force cannot grow without them; the birthrate among native-born Americans is barely at replacement levels,” Clinton wrote. “From Charleston to Charlottesville, we are reminded that the racial divide remains a curse that can be revived with devastating consequences.”
The former president continued lauding immigration, saying that “tribalism based on race, religion, sexual identity and place of birth has replaced inclusive nationalism.”
However, in his 1995 State of the Union address, the two-term Democrat attacked the nation’s porous border that allowed in millions of illegal aliens.
“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” Clinton said. “The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.”
Clinton later boasted about the number of steps that his administration took to enforce America’s immigration laws, even going as far as proposing a ban on welfare benefits to illegal aliens and speeding their deportations.
“That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens,” he said. “In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace.”
That same year, Clinton endorsed the findings by a federal advisory panel, labeled the Jordan Commission. The group recommended cutting legal immigration by a third, citing concerns about native workers.
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