New York Times
By Amy Chozick and Yamiche Alcindor
February 19, 2016
Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders each tried to prove their commitment to immigration reform at a bilingual town hall-style forum on Thursday, days before this heavily Latino state will hold its Democratic caucuses.
Mr. Sanders, amid criticism from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign for voting against legislation in 2007 that would have overhauled the immigration system and granted millions of Latino immigrants legal status, said he opposed the bill because a guest-worker provision would have been “akin to slavery.”
Mrs. Clinton said that changing the immigration system would be “a big political issue” if she were elected and reminded the mostly Latino audience that she had been an early critic of Donald J. Trump’s offensive comments about Mexican immigrants.
“I was the first person to call out Trump,” she said.
She promised to remove a rule that requires immigrants who have returned to their home countries to wait three or 10 years, depending on how long they had been in the country illegally, before applying to return to the United States. And she criticized her opponent, saying he has not clearly promised to do away with the policy.
Mr. Sanders’s campaign promptly responded on Twitter. “Glad to hear Hillary Clinton’s promise to remove the three and ten year bars against returning immigrants put in place by the Clinton admin,” the campaign wrote.
Mrs. Clinton was asked about a comment she made in a debate during the 2008 Democratic primary race in which she said she did not support a policy in New York that would give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. She responded that it had been a “state issue” and that she supports a federal law to provide driver’s licenses.
Both candidates, in the final sprint before the caucuses, also held public events on Thursday night after the forum. Mr. Sanders spoke at a Democratic dinner for Clark County, where he again affirmed his commitment to immigration reform and took his own shots at Mr. Trump.
“There is no justification, no reason for people to resort to bigotry, xenophobia and racial hatred when we are talking about Mexicans or when we are talking Muslims,” Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Sanders announced at the dinner that the Clark County Black Caucus was endorsing him. The group could help him as he tries to cut into Mrs. Clinton’s lead among black voters.
Before Mrs. Clinton arrived at a rally in the heavily Latino area of east Las Vegas, her campaign’s new ad, “Brave,” in which she comforts a child who is worried that her parents will be deported, played on large video screens.
Both candidates have been aggressively courting Hispanics, who make up nearly 28 percent of Nevada’s total population and are expected to play an important role in Saturday’s caucuses. But Thursday night’s forum, hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo, also gave the candidates a chance to reach out to a critical constituency in many of the 11 states that vote on Super Tuesday, including Colorado and Texas.
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