Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has apologized for using the term “illegal immigrant” at a New Hampshire town hall meeting. The former secretary of state promised to never use the phrase again, calling it “a poor choice of words.”
During a campaign stop for the New Hampshire caucus in early November, Clinton was asked about border security.
“Well, I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in,” Clinton answered, according to CNN. “And I do think you have to control your borders.”
Clinton then took a crack at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal of mass deportations and building a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It is just never going to happen that we’re going to round-up and deport 11 or 12 million [people],” Clinton continued. “I don’t care how tall the wall is or how big the door is, that is never going to happen.”
During a Facebook forum sponsored by Telemundo, Clinton was taken to task by filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas for having used the words “illegal immigrant” during her town hall answer. Vargas argues that the term is offensive, The Guardian reports.
“That was a poor choice of words,” Clinton wrote. “As I’ve said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected.”
DREAMers is a term adopted by some immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, based off of the DREAM Act legislation that would have given a path to citizenship but failed to pass in Congress.
Clinton promised Vargas she would not use the phrase "illegal immigrant" again.
The former first lady has made immigration reform one of the top priorities of her presidential campaign, pledging to provide a path to citizenship for those currently in the country illegally.
Clinton's stance is in sharp contrast to Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has been championing campaign policy to deport every immigrant who is not in the country legally.
While providing relief to immigrants may be popular within the Democratic party, the GOP split on the issue, with 47 percent of self-identifying Republicans supporting mass deportations, according to a Nov. 24 Washington Post-ABC News national poll.
Do you think Clinton should have apologized?