Gillibrand: Illegal Immigrants 'Must Have the Right to Pay Into Social Security'

March 20, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) said during a campaign stop Tuesday that everyone in the country, including illegal immigrants, "must have the right to pay into Social Security."

Gillibrand, who officially entered the 2020 presidential race on Sunday, told an audience in Davenport, Iowa she had a "lot of ideas," including the common Democratic embrace of "comprehensive immigration reform."

"First, we need comprehensive immigration reform," she said. "If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into Social Security, to pay your taxes, to pay into the local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship."

Gillibrand's proposal would provide amnesty to all illegal immigrants in the country. She also now supports illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses, a position she opposed when she represented a more conservative congressional district in upstate New York.

Gillibrand called the Trump administration's proposed southern border wall "so absurd and hurtful," agreeing with a Native American activist last month who said a wall would cut off "indigenous" people from their land.

Like her fellow 2020 competitors, Gillibrand has raced to the left in a bid to win the nomination, embracing "Medicare for all," a Green New Deal, and strict gun control measures. She has frequently apologized for former conservative views on issues like guns and immigration, calling herself "embarrassed" by them.

However, she's struggled to make headway in polls. Her candidacy has been an afterthought in the large field, despite hailing from the country's second-largest state and positioning herself as the lawmaker who's voted most often against President Donald Trump's nominees.