Does Hillary Clinton Support Sanctuary Cities? Her Campaign Won't Say

Susan Jones | September 26, 2016 | 5:45am EDT
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Hillary Clinton hugs immigration activist Astrid Silva. (AP File Photo)

( - Does Hillary Clinton support sanctuary cities or not? CNN's Jake Tapper put that question to Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, when Mook appeared on "State of the Union" Sunday. (Clinton did not appear. She was preparing for Monday night's debate.)

"I want to turn to the subject of immigration, because it's a topic that's sure to come up tomorrow. It's a major part of the Trump campaign," Tapper told Mook. "When it comes to Hillary Clinton, I have to ask about sanctuary cities -- cities where they do not enforce federal immigration laws. And that sometimes means that people who are criminals, who are in this country illegally, end up getting free and committing worse crimes. It just is a fact that that does happen. Does Hillary Clinton consider sanctuary cities to be a problem?" Tapper asked.

"Well, first of all, Jake, as you mentioned, we do think this is a really important difference between both of the candidates," Mook responded. (He was talking about immigration in general, not sanctuary cities.)

"And Secretary Clinton has released a comprehensive plan for immigration reform. This is something she's pledged to do in the first 100 days. We cannot have a situation where anybody is coming to this country illegally and committing crimes.

"And so she has, as I said, put out plans to make sure that we're removing violent criminals from this country. But that is -- that can happen at the same time that we're not tearing families apart and that we're making sure that hardworking people who have been here for a very long time come out of the shadows, come in to the system, pay those back taxes, become citizens, and so actually our economy can continue to grow."

"I'm not clear, though," Tapper followed up. "Does she want to end sanctuary cities or not? You said that people shouldn't be coming into this country illegally.
But a Clinton campaign spokeswoman last year said -- quote -- 'Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years.' Does she support sanctuary cities or not?" Tapper asked.

"Well, I think that's -- I think that's too narrow a view of this situation," Mook said. "We need comprehensive immigration reform. And part of comprehensive immigration reform is making sure that law enforcement has the tools to find these violent criminals and get them out of the country and that, for people who do not have legal status right now, that we put them on that path to citizenship."

Tapper ended the interview at this point: "All right, I look forward to further clarity on the sanctuary city issue specifically. Robby Mook, thank you so much. Good luck tomorrow night."

Hillary Clinton's campaign website says she will "embrace immigrants, not denigrate them." But her webpage on immigration says nothing about sanctuary cities.

Here's what it does say:

"Hillary will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office. It will treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy."

In addition, Clinton will not require illegal aliens to leave the country if they want to apply for a green card.

She supports President Obama's executive amnesty for "dreamers" and their parents, and she promises to defend DACA and DAPA "against partisan attacks."

Clinton says if Congress fails to act on comprehensive immigration reform, "Hillary will enact a simple system for those with sympathetic cases -- such as parents of DREAMers, those with a history of service and contribution to their communities, or those who experience extreme labor violations -- to make their case and be eligible for deferred action.

Like Obama, Clinton "will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories."

She will end family detention for parents and children who stream across the border and close private immigration detention centers.

She will expand access to taxpayer-subsidized Obamacare to all families, regardless of immigration status.

To promote naturalization, Clinton will "work to expand fee waiver to alleviate naturalization costs, increase access to language programs to encourage English proficiency, and increase outreach and education to help more people navigate the process."

And finally, Clinton says she will "create a national Office of Immigrant Affairs, support affordable integration services through $15 million in new grant funding for community navigators and similar organizations, and significantly increase federal resources for adult English language education and citizenship education."

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