Clinton: 'I Have Proposed an Office of Immigrant Affairs for the White House'

By Susan Jones | August 9, 2016 | 6:14am EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists' and National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame Luncheon at Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

( - Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says she would create a new office of Immigrant Affairs in the White House to help her achieve her goal of comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.

Speaking to a joint gathering of black and hispanic journalists on Friday, Clinton said she would start working on immigration reform "immediately" if she wins in November.

"I will defend DACA and DAPA while I work vigorously for immigration reform," Clinton said. "I have proposed an Office of Immigrant Affairs for the White House so that we are able to answer questions and provide information and help people.

"I will take a very hard look at the deportation priorities. My priorities are violent criminals, people suspected of any kind of connection to terrorism, not hard-working mothers and fathers and people who go to work, help support this economy, pay $12 billion a year into Social Security, so we will take a hard look at that.

"We will close private detention centers, just like I want to end private prisons. We're going to close private detention centers. So, I have a very active agenda and we're going to be moving on it and I believe -- and you know, obviously it depends upon the outcome of this election - which is why it's so important to register more voters."

Clinton described the upcoming election as a referendum on immigration:

"I am hoping that the outcome of the election, which I am working hard to ensure a victory, will send a clear message to our Republican friends that it's time for them to quit standing in the way of immigration reform," she said.

"If you remember, after the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee did what they called an autopsy of their loss and concluded that they could not continue to deny the importance of immigration reform, and they urged Republicans running for office to get on board. Now, that hasn't turned out the way that they seemed to have hoped. We have, instead, a Republican nominee who has been virulently anti-immigrant.

"But there's nothing like winning to change minds."

Clinton said if the U.S. Senate returns to Democratic control and Democrats pick up seats in the House, she views the "political landscape as increasingly favorable" to passing immigration legislation that will make it legal for millions of foreigners to stay in the country.

"So, I have a very active agenda and we're going to be moving on it and I believe - and you know, obviously it depends upon the outcome of this election - which is why it's so important to register more voters.

"My campaign is trying to register 3 million more voters, convince people to turn out, because we're going to start early and we're going to be tenacious and absolutely committed to getting a positive result. I think the chances, once we win, will improve dramatically."

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