According to Politico, Hillary Clinton professed aspirations for an open-borders hemisphere in at least one of her recently-leaked paid speeches:
“'My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere,' Clinton told a Brazilian bank in 2013.”
“As she sought to burnish her image as an advocate of working America, Mrs. Clinton declared her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Obama's 12-nation trade pact, and distanced herself from Nafta, which her husband signed into law.
But in a 2013 speech to a Brazilian bank, Mrs. Clinton took a far different approach. 'My dream,' she said, 'is a hemispheric common market, with open borders, sometime in the future.'”
Neither the moderators nor Trump raised Clinton's open-border comments in the debate Sunday night, but Jake Tapper asked her running mate, Tim Kaine, about it:
TAPPER: What about her position on borders? She says her dream – in this document – her dream is a hemispheric common market with open borders. Is that something that in the Clinton-Kaine administration we would see, open borders?
Kaine wouldn't say “yes” or “no” – replying only that he and Clinton “believe in comprehensive immigration reform” that includes border security. Kaine pointed to the 2013 Schumer-Rubio bill as an example. That bill would have doubled legal immigration and guest workers programs, weakened existing visa-enforcement law, and replaced E-Verify with a new verification system to be phased in at least 5 years after enactment (depending on groups suing to stop workplace enforcement).
A spokesperson for the Clinton campaign told the Daily Caller that Clinton's 2013 open borders statement was about “energy policy.”
Clinton stated earlier in her campaign that her administration would not enforce legal limits on immigration except when violators were considered security threats, according to the Washington Post:
“'We are not going to be deporting hardworking people and breaking up families,' Clinton said. 'I've been on record for a year-and-a-half about this, and that will be how I direct the Department of Homeland Security to act.'”
Neil Munro puts Clinton's open-borders comments in a labor context:
Immigration redistributes approximately $500 billion a year from wage-earners to the investor class, according to the National Academy of Sciences. And pundits acknowledge that the disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street over immigration has become a presidential election issue, as Chris Matthews elucidates on Morning Joe (starting at the 6:45 minute mark):
“A lot of this support for Trump, with all his flaws which he displays regularly, is about the country – patriotic feelings people have, they feel like the country has been let down. Our elite leaders on issues like immigration, they don't regulate any immigration it seems….It's patriotic. They believe in their country. ….I think that is so deep with people that they're looking at a guy who's flawed as hell like Trump and at least it's a way of saying I am really angry about the way the elite has treated my country. And it's so deep that it overwhelms all the bad stuff from Trump. It's that strong. It's a strong force wind.”
“…felt compelled to compete with Hillary Clinton for the title of most congenial to illegal immigrants. And now Clinton, who as a senator declared she was “adamantly against illegal immigrants” because she understood their negative effects, has committed herself to the all-in crowd…”
Michael Lind writes that mass immigration is attractive to wealthy elites mainly as a way to keep the costs of services down but cautions that open-borders rhetoric could ultimately “weaken national unity, to the benefit of sub-national racism, ethnocentrism, and regionalism.” This, is what T.A. Frank dubs “the nightmare.”
Lind writes that open-borders rhetoric alone serves a specific purpose:
“Pseudo-globalist rhetoric about a borderless, post-national world is intended mostly to justify policies undertaken by local national governments, not the United Nations or some other global agency. These policies include making it easier for corporations to offshore production or services….and suppressing wages to the benefit of some employers and some consumers by increasing immigration, both skilled and unskilled.”
Clinton has promised an immigration increase within the first 100 days of her administration. Whether she ultimately aspires to a “hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders” is now a legitimate question that her campaign has yet to straightforwardly answer.