On Friday, former Colorado governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper, who is barely registering in the polls, said that the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. should be given 10-year visas “immediately.”
As The Washington Free Beacon reports, Hickenlooper was speaking at Telemundo’s presidential candidate forum in Miami when the moderator asked, “What would be your plan for the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are right here in the country. Would you give them a path to citizenship?”
The Free Beacon reported that Hickenlooper first digressed by discussing a 2014 Wall Street Journal interview as the moderator pointed out that Hickenlooper has abandoned his 2014 assertion and 2016 reiteration that citizenship wasn’t a priority for illegal immigrants.
Hickenlooper stated, “I was talking about—when I talked to the Wall Street Journal about trying to find a way that the undocumented people in this country could go back and forth immediately and visit their families. What I would say with the 11 million people that are here now is that we should give them a 10-year visa immediately, put them on a pathway to citizenship and make sure that if it takes longer they can have extensions. What I was trying to say at that time was the priority should be allow people to come out from the shadows.”.
Queried as to whether he believed that illegal immigrants should have a pathway to citizenship, Hickenlooper answered, “Yes, of course. No, no I was saying the priority needs to be able to let them have freedom to actually work and to travel, but yes, absolutely everyone deserves a pathway to citizenship.”
In 2014, Hickenlooper stated to The Wall Street Journal:
What’s amazing to me is, a lot of young Latinos, the vast majority don’t care about a pathway to citizenship. They want to be able to get on an airplane and get down to Mexico City and visit their grandparents. And they want to get a job and be able to get paid over the table. Why don’t we just take the pathway to citizenship and say, “We’re not going to worry about it.” Let’s have a robust guest worker system where everybody gets five years and we secure the border and we actually hold business accountable if they’re going to pay people under the table.
When the Journal asked whether he would run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton passed up an expected run, Hickenlooper replied:
No, my God. What a dogfight. You’d have to convince me, and I don’t think there’s a way, a human way to convince me. At least the way I look at my life it would be the last major undertaking I get in my adult life. And I’d have to believe that I was changing, somehow doing something incredibly important for the country and changing it, and I don’t see that as remotely feasible in the present world.
In June 2018, Hickenlooper issued an executive order condemning the Trump administration for its immigration policy. The order stated, “We recognize the importance of maintaining safety at our international borders, but intentionally separating children from their families is cruel and un-American.”