NEW YORK — Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said Monday that she supports lower fees for people seeking U.S. citizenship.
Speaking in Brooklyn at the National Immigrant Integration Conference, Clinton railed against immigration policies that “can tear families apart” and against Republican rivals Donald Trump and [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore].
“I’ll work to ensure that every single refugee who seeks asylum in the United States has a fair chance to tell his or her story. This is the least we can offer people fleeing persecution and devastation,” Clinton said.
“We’ve got to do more to help people who are eligible for citizenship take that last step. There are millions of people in America who could be naturalized, but for one reason or another, they’re not. So let’s help more of our neighbors claim their rights. It’s so powerful, so precious to be a citizen of the United States!”
Clinton also suggested to expand waiver fees as a way to get more people to become naturalized.
“To be able to vote in our elections, to have a voice in our future and I want to take down the barriers that are holding people back. So here’s a few things I will do: I will work to expand fee waivers, so more people seeking naturalization can get a break on the costs,” she said. “I will increase access to language programs to help people boost their English proficiency. I will enhance outreach and education so more people know their options and are engaged in the process.”
Clinton took a shot at Republican front-runner Donald Trump and referenced previous remarks the New York billionaire made.
“Candidates for president are calling immigrants drug runners and rapists. They promise if elected to round up and deport millions of people, build a mammoth wall, militarize the borders, tear families apart, and after the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, at a time when a lot of Americans are fearful about future attacks hear at home some candidates are even stoking those fears and turning people against Muslim-Americans, saying some hateful hurtful things.”
Clinton also targeted Rubio for his previous support and later non-support of the 2013 Senate immigration bill.
“Now, you know Senator Rubio actually helped write the 2013 Senate bill. Now he renounces it. They’re all moving toward the extreme and away from the rest of America. Now I know it was a blow to a lot of people in this room and across our country when that 2013 bill failed.”
Illinois Democratic Rep. [crscore]Luis Gutierrez[/crscore], who endorsed Clinton, introduced the former secretary of state to the 1300 person event.
“We gather here with all of you as we move forward to make sure there are one million new immigrant citizens ready to vote coming in November,” Gutierrez said.
He went further adding later, “We have accomplished much. DACA — There are over 800,000 young DREAMERS that can’t be deported from the United States of America.”
Gutierrez explained, “Four years ago, 400,00 people being deported every year. It’s down to 230,000 this year. Are there people who shouldn’t be deported who still are? Absolutely. But we’re working to get the numbers down and I want to introduce to you somebody who is going to protect that and expand it if she can.”
Two protesters unsatisfied by Clinton’s immigration plans interrupted her remarks. Both were escorted out by authorities.