Flashback: Clinton got a standing ovation for slamming illegal immigration in 1995 State of the Union

by WorldTribune Staff, January 30, 2018

As President Donald Trump prepared to give a State of the Union Address with a strong emphasis on immigration, the GOP sought to remind the nation that past “tough talk” on the issue that was warmly received – by Democrats.

In a post on GOP.com, Republicans said that, in his 1995 address, President Bill Clinton said:

President Bill Clinton acknowledges the crowd as he prepares to gives his second State of the Union address on the floor of the 104th Congress, on Capitol Hill on Jan. 24. 1995. / AP

“All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.

“That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace… We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Clinton “received a bipartisan standing ovation for his tough rhetoric on illegal immigration,” the post said.

In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama called for putting illegals “behind the folks trying to come here legally.”

“Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made – putting more boots on the Southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years,” Obama said.

“Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”

The GOP also cited Democratic leaders such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi as having “echoed similar tough rhetoric” on immigration:

  • A 1994 Feinstein political ad called for more “agents, fencing, lighting, and other equipment.” The ad states: “Dianne Feinstein led the fight to stop illegal immigration.” The ad concludes with the senator saying to the camera: “I’m Dianne Feinstein and I’ve just begun to fight for California.”
  • During a 2009 speech at Georgetown Law, Schumer insisted that “the American people are fundamentally pro-legal immigration and anti-illegal immigration. We will only pass comprehensive reform when we recognize this fundamental concept. First, illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.”
  • In 2013, Pelosi called on the House to support a bill which “echoes the spirit of the Senate bill and upholds our basic principles: to secure our borders, protect our workers, unite families, and offer an earned pathway to citizenship.”
  • In 2015, Hillary Clinton pointed out that she “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 that you have to control your borders.”

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