Hillary Clinton said in an interview Tuesday that the federal government should deport children who cross the U.S. border illegally.
Clinton made the statement during an interview, conducted by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, at the Newseum in Washington D.C.
"They should be sent back as soon as it can be determined who responsible adults in their families are, because there are concerns whether all of them should be sent back," Clinton said. "But I think all of them who can be should be reunited with their families.”
That declaration is seen, by many, as a departure from President Obama’s current policy according to the Daily Mail. It also may mean that Clinton, who has been said to be considering a run for the White House in 2016, is beginning to lay the foundation for that campaign by clearly stating her positions on controversial issues.
“We have to send a clear message: Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn't mean the child gets to stay,” Clinton said.
The flow of children entering the U.S. illegally is a problem that continues to grow. Although they are crossing over from Mexico, it is believed the children are being sent, by their parents, from Central American countries. Officials from the Obama administration have said that poor economic conditions and violence in countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are the factors driving the new influx.
Whatever the reason, it is clear border officials are overwhelmed.
"We're seeing record numbers of children coming across," one Border Patrol agent told USA Today. "We're dealing with so many of them turning themselves in that it makes it hard for our agents to focus on anything else.”
In 2013, a reported 24,668 children entered the country illegally. The Obama administration’s budget for 2014 reflects a prediction that 60,000 children would enter the country this year. Authorities say that number is low and will easily be exceeded.
When it was pointed out to Clinton, by Amanpour, that the children might be safer in the U.S. than in the countries they are fleeing, Clinton said allowing them to stay was “not the answer.”
“So we don't want to send a message that is contrary to our laws, or we'll encourage more children to make that dangerous journey,” Clinton said.