Hillary Clinton speaks during the 2015 integration immigration conference in Brooklyn, New York on December 14, 2015.
Hillary Clinton speaks during the 2015 integration immigration conference in Brooklyn, New York on December 14, 2015. - 
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Amid the whirlwind coverage of Donald Trump's trip to Mexico and his immigration speech, one thing may be lost: what Hillary Clinton would do.

Here’s what Clinton says she would do. Introduce “comprehensive immigration reform” within her first 100 days in office, and keep current policies that try to protect some immigrants from deportation.  Like so  called DREAMers  people who were brought here illegally when they were children. That’s what Clinton emphasizes when she meets with undocumented immigrants.  She tells them: 

“I will defend those and I will absolutely protect your children, yourself, and try to bring your family back together,” she said recently.

This is basically an extension of President Obama’s current policy.  In his first term, he was much stricter on immigration. He deported more people than any other president in decades. Even his predecessor. 

“President Obama deported more people in his first administration than President Bush had done under his administration,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, who teaches immigration law at Cornell University Law School.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, President Obama deported around three million people.  And that’s not cheap.

“The government spent $19 billion on immigration enforcement vs about $15 billion on all other federal criminal law enforcement agencies,” said Randy Capps, the Institute’s director of research for U.S. programs.

Capps said President Obama ratcheted down immigration enforcement in his second term. But there are still lots of U.S. border agents on patrol.

“You now have roughly 21,000 border patrol agents which is a doubling from the level of the early 2000’s when it was around 10,000,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Our next president  Clinton or Trump  would inherit all of those agents. One difference? Hillary Clinton says she’ll extend President Obama’s softer policies. 

 

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Follow Nancy Marshall-Genzer at @MarshallGenzer