Former President Bill Clinton recently weighed in on the current state of immigration in America. The 42nd Commander-in-Chief said “there is a limit” to how many migrants the country can house “without severe disruption.”
He made the comments during a September interview with CNN host Fareed Zakaria, who questioned Clinton about the current refugee crisis.
“I think it’s fair to say that the asylum system seems to be broken. This was meant to be a system that allowed people who were in desperate circumstances,” Zakaria said. “Now what you have is a lot of people who are essentially economic migrants coming in, essentially gaming the system, using the asylum as a way to get in. Isn’t it true that there has to be some order placed on this? Some control?”
“I agree with that,” Clinton responded. “There is a limit to how many migrants any society can take without severe disruption and assistance, and our system is based much more on an assumption that things would be more normal.”
The former POTUS went on to explain how the sentiment around immigration has changed over the years based on perceived threats to the economic security of Americans.
“For example, as long as I can remember, we’ve had an immigration system, we’ve given green cards to people from other countries who’ve had valuable skills that we needed and it generally had a lot of support until somebody felt their economic interests threatened,” Clinton continued.
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He recalled that during his childhood and young adult years, “Mexican citizens moved freely back and forth” across the border to do “agricultural work and it worked for people.”
“It’s an old story, but now you just got the largest number of refugees since World War II because of Syria and now Ukraine and other problems in the middle … and it’s created unprecedented new challenges,” Clinton said.
He further noted the state of the current migrant crisis gave birth to the “stunts” like the ones pulled by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who transported migrants to various cities and Martha’s Vineyard.
Clinton’s recent comments are not far removed from the ones he made during his 1995 State of the Union address.
“All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country,” Clinton said before detailing how “aggressively” his administration was tackling the problem.
“The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers,” Clinton continued. “That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens.”
He expounded on the U.S. government’s steps to deport illegal immigrants who committed crimes or held employment.
“We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it,” Clinton concluded.