Former President Bill Clinton said this weekend that Democrats need to address immigration reform, and that the present "chaos" at the border is helping Republicans.
"[The immigration] system is broken, and we need to fix it," Clinton said Sunday during "The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis" radio show on New York's 77 WABC. "We need to rush through these things."
Clinton said that currently most of those coming into the country illegally are from Venezuela and could legitimately make a case for political asylum based on the situation in that country. But they can't get work permits for at least six months, putting a burden on the government to shelter and feed them until they can legally start earning money.
"The real problem they got now in an emergency [in New York], is not the people sent up from Florida and Texas, by and large, it's the huge number of Venezuelans who have showed up due to the collapse of the Venezuelan economy," Clinton said. "Under American law, going back for decades, we have always had a blanket offer of entry into America for people who have a reasonable fear for the lives and safety of their families and themselves."
Clinton said states like New York and Massachusetts that have "right to shelter" laws are then mandated to provide food and shelter to the migrants until they obtain work permits and can start earning the money they need to survive.
"They come up here, and we are supposed to shelter people who can't get work permits for six months," he continued. "They need to work; they need to pay taxes and pay their way. Most of these people have no interest in being on welfare, for themselves and their families. They want to work, and they are not allowed to under the system as it now works."
Clinton said the current situation is helping the GOP make political hay out of the issue, hurting Democrats.
"We need to be very practical here," he said. "The system is built to handle about 400,000 [immigrants] a year, and we have many times that coming in. [The] chaos has been very beneficial to Republicans recently, but you have got to build a good system that works."
Clinton said most migrants are welcomed in the Westchester County area where he lives, and that many are working and starting small businesses.
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
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