Hillary Clinton now supports offering driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, a 180-degree turn on her stance on the issue eight years ago, a news report released Thursday said. Clinton is known for a 2007 flub when she said doing so “makes a lot of sense,” but that she didn’t support such a measure. Her opponents vying for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, including then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, slammed her for not taking a firm stance on the issue.
“Hillary supports state policies to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. This is consistent with her support for the president’s executive action,” said a campaign spokesman, the Huffington Post reported in reference to a series of executive orders Obama made in November that opens up a path to permanent residency for around 4 million undocumented immigrants. A Clinton aide later told Business Insider that the “immigration landscape of 2015 is far different from the immigration landscape of 2007,” and that Clinton’s support for such measures “naturally flows” from Obama’s actions.
Ten states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico currently allow undocumented immigrants to have a driver’s license after passing a series of tests, the National Immigration Law Center said. A North Carolina House committee approved similar legislation Wednesday.
Voters largely oppose such initiatives, a Huffington Post/YouGov poll conducted this month suggests. Sixty-four percent of all voters surveyed strongly oppose or somewhat oppose such measures, while only 26 percent either strongly favor or somewhat favor them. Republicans and Independents are heavily against such measures, opposing them by 81 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Democrats are split, with 3 percent more in opposition than in favor.
Proponents of laws allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license say it’s in the best interest of the economy, public and law enforcement because it encourages individuals to travel safely to work and to cooperate with police. Opponents, such as those in North Carolina, argue it opens up avenues for identity fraud and encourages undocumented immigrants to come to their state.