Hillary Rodham Clinton says she supports President Barack Obama’s executive actions to protect about 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, calling it a “historic step” and urging Congress to pursue a measure approved by the Senate last year.
Clinton placed the efforts aimed at changing immigration policy in the context of families, many of whom she said are longtime residents raising children and paying taxes.
“This is about people’s lives,” she said Friday during an appearance at the New York Historical Society, adding that it was about “people who serve us tonight, who prepared the food tonight.”
Clinton is considering a presidential campaign in 2016 and her embrace of Obama’s actions come in sharp contrast to Republican condemnation of the changes the president has ordered.
“I think the president took an historic step and I support it,” the former secretary of state said in her first public comments on the issue. She had issued a statement shortly after Obama’s speech Thursday night expressing support. Obama’s actions were in line with previous moves by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, she said. However, many Republicans in Congress accuse Obama of overstepping his executive powers.
Clinton spoke about the immigration plan during an interview with Walter Isaacson, the biographer and CEO of the Aspen Institute, at the event. She said she was studying the life and presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and discussed the need for Americans to find a “common purpose.”
“I think we just need to get back into that can-do, problem-solving spirit that the Roosevelts exemplified,” she said.