It’s 2019, and Senator Kristen Gillibrand is calling for the complete abolition of ICE.
But just a few years ago, Gillibrand was conservative immigration. She opposed amnestya and fought for harsh penalties on companies who hired illegals under the table.
Gillibrand, as a congresswoman for a little more than two years from a mostly white and more conservative district in upstate New York, opposed “amnesty for illegal immigrants” and voted to increase funding for US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to work with local law enforcement on deportations. As the junior senator from New York, Gillibrand now espouses much more liberal positions on the issue, and last year called for the abolishment and reimagining of ICE.
A review by CNN’s KFile of Gillibrand’s old campaign websites and materials, speeches, interviews and legislative history show how central Gillibrand’s conservative positions on immigration were to her message during her brief career as a member of the House.
Running for the House in 2006, Gillibrand attacked her opponent from the right on immigration and called securing the border “a national security priority.” In a 2007 interview, Gillibrand said “you have to close the borders” as a first step to “right size” immigration. In a 2008 mailer sent from her congressional office, Gillibrand touted her efforts to expedite “the removal of illegal aliens by expanding detention capacity and increasing the number of Federal District Court judges.”
Those positions could complicate her ability to effectively challenge Trump, who has taken similar positions and has made his opposition to illegal immigration central to his political message.
Gillibrand’s complete flip-flop happened shortly after 2009 when she was appointed in to the Senate. In congress, she had to appeal to a more conservative district in upstate new york. She billed herself as a common-sense moderate Democrat.
But after joining the Senate, she knew she would have to appeal to the much more liberal voters of New York City–so her positions on immigration were some of the first casualties of her swing left.
One can only wonder what other positions she’ll abandon during her Presidential campaign?