Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday confronted some of her previous stances on immigration, saying her past positions “didn’t care” about the needs of diverse Americans.
“When I was a member of Congress from upstate New York, I was really focused on the priorities of my district,” the New York senator said during a CNN town hall. “When I became senator of the entire state, I recognized that some of my views really did need to change.”
Before becoming a senator in 2009, Gillibrand represented a largely Republican district in the House and expressed ideas on immigration — from blocking certain benefits for undocumented immigrants to establishing English as an official language — that have come back to haunt her as she seeks the Democratic nomination in 2020.
Those old stances especially corrode her platform as the antithesis of President Donald Trump, who has made harsher penalties and stricter enforcement of immigration laws a cornerstone of his campaign and administration.