Hillary Clinton said in an interview with Vox published Monday that illegal immigration is a problem for the United States because some undocumented workers are taking jobs from Americans, causing serious anxiety in the country.
Clinton at first appeared to downplay the idea that Americans lose jobs to illegal immigrants before saying that for many people it’s a real problem.
"Why do you think it is that it is so intuitive to people, or so intuitive to many people, that there is a zero-sum competition with immigrants for jobs?" Vox’s Ezra Klein asked. "As you said, that’s not what the economic evidence shows, but it’s powering a lot of politics in this country."
"I think it’s because everybody with six degrees of separation either knows or thinks they know someone who knows somebody who lost a job to an undocumented worker or to a worker brought over on a visa to do their job," Clinton said. "There’s just a lot of churn that suggests this is a real problem."
Clinton then used an example of a roofer losing their job to an immigrant who would work for a tenth of the cost, before saying that it is a real problem for many Americans.
"So I think it’s real. It’s not, it’s hard to argue an economic analytics abstraction, that, you know, really it’s not that much job displacement and, you know, the overall economy is better and they’re making these investments in Social Security trust funds," Clinton said. "It’s really hard when you’re the one who has lost the job. When you are at Disney in Orlando and you’re told to retrain your successors and then kicked out the door, or when you’re on a construction site and all of a sudden you show up the next morning and they tell you they don’t need you anymore because they’ve picked up a bunch of folks at a job corner in the neighborhood."
"So there’s enough real world experience that gives people the anxiety that we’re seeing in the political environment," Clinton added.
Illegal immigration has been on of the most important and contentious issues of the 2016 presidential campaign, with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump making it a cornerstone of his campaign.