Hillary Clinton promised on Tuesday to refrain from using the phrase “illegal immigrant” during the rest of her campaign, saying she employed a “poor choice of words” at a previous campaign event.
Jose Antonia Vargas, an immigration activist, asked the former secretary of state during a Telemundo Facebook chat if she would commit to his “#wordsmatter” pledge regarding the issue.
“On behalf of the organization I founded, Define American, and the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in this country — including myself — I am asking all the presidential candidates to recognize that #wordsmatter by committing to not using the term ‘illegal’ when referencing the undocumented population,” Vargas wrote on Facebook.
Vargas and others seeking a recognized status by the government for those who moved into the United States illegally prefer the term on “undocumented immigrants.”
Clinton responded to Vargas’ question on Facebook writing, “Yes, I will. That was a poor choice of words. As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names, and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected.”
“I’ve talked about undocumented immigrants hundreds of times and fought for years for comprehensive immigration reform,” Clinton added. “And I will continue to do so.”
“We are a country built by immigrants and our diversity makes us stronger as a nation – it’s something to be proud of, celebrate, and defend,” she concluded.
At a town hall in New Hampshire earlier this month, Clinton was asked about securing the border to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.
“Look, 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. And I do think you have to control your borders,” Clinton said.
“I will say for those of us who believe people ought to come to this country legally and we should enforce the law, we’re tired of being told it is anti-immigrant, it’s offensive!” Cruz said.
“I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba to seek the American dream and we can embrace legal immigration, while believing in the rule of law,” he said.
“And I would note, try going illegally to another country. Try going to China or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do. Every sovereign nation secure its borders and it is not compassionate to say we are not going to enforce the law and we are going to drive down wages for millions of hardworking Americans.”