Senate

Gillibrand touted work to hasten 'removal of illegal aliens' in 2008 mailer: report

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who recently announced her plans to run for the White House in 2020, reportedly touted her efforts fighting illegal immigration in old campaign mailers and appearances during her time in Congress.

The Democratic senator said her work hastened the "removal of illegal aliens by expanding detention capacity and increasing the number of Federal District Court judges" in one 2008 mailer sent out by her congressional office, CNN reported Thursday.

In other campaign appearances around that time, CNN reports, Gillibrand called for U.S. borders to be closed and referred to illegal immigration as a "national security priority."

The comments come in stark contrast to the platform Gillibrand announced as part of her exploratory bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination this month, which includes the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

Abolition of ICE emerged in 2018 as a key goal of left-wing activists who argue that the agency largely functions as a deportation service. Gillibrand's new positions on immigration reform and ICE starkly contrast with the past language used by the New York Democrat, which a spokeswoman for her exploratory committee says shows Gillibrand's growth.

"It takes courage to admit when you are wrong, and Kirsten has made clear that she regrets positions she took years ago in the House related to immigration," Meredith Kelly, Gillibrand's 2020 spokeswoman, told CNN.

"Since coming to the Senate and hearing from families all across the state, Kirsten has been a steadfast and compassionate advocate for immigrants, and will continue to drive progress on comprehensive immigration reform, immigrant rights and strengthening the legal immigration system that makes us Americans," Kelly added.

Gillibrand made her 2020 announcement this week on Monday's "The Late Show," touting her experience as a working mother.

"I'm going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own, which is why I believe that health care should be a right and not a privilege," Gillibrand said.

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