Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently spoke out in favor of more open immigration policy at a campaign event, yet she has not always supported the policies she currently pushes.
During a speech in Iowa on Wednesday, the 2020 hopeful claimed that Social Security and citizenship were rights for those in the country illegally.
“First, we need comprehensive immigration reform,” Gillibrand 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. That must happen.”
During an MSNBC town hall on Monday, she also spoke out in support of diversity of the American people, saying that it is one of the most important aspects of the country.
“So I would just remind them about why immigration — and our story as Americans — shows that our strongest and best moments are when we welcomed immigrants and our lowest and darkest moments are when we did not, and remind people how important immigration is,” Gillibrand said.
Watch Gillibrand’s comments on immigration below:
While campaigning for President in Iowa, @gillibrandny said she wants to expand social security to cover illegal immigrants.
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 20, 2019
As IJR reported, Gillibrand also pushed for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement last year, claiming that “it doesn’t work.”
Senator Gillibrand (D-NY): “Get rid of ICE” pic.twitter.com/9e1Is3zzuA
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 23, 2018
However, this is far different than what the senator used to support. According to a report by CNN, the presidential candidate used to be against an open immigration system and called securing the border “a national security priority.”
Gillibrand even voted in the past to increase funding for ICE and pushed for a higher number of deportations. In a 2007 interview, she also claimed she supported closing the border:
“I think we should be dealing with immigration to ‘right size’ immigration. First step, you have to close the borders. Second step, you have to increase enforcement dramatically. There has been no enforcement under this past administration.”
Other notable decisions on immigration that Gillibrand once made was supporting a bill that would deny illegal immigrants driver’s licenses and pushing to make English the official language of the United States.
The lawmaker’s policies shifted in 2009 when she took over Hillary Clinton’s seat in the Senate. Although she has apologized for her past beliefs, Gillibrand has also been heavily criticized for changing her opinions for political gain.