Clinton: Give Undocumented Kids a Chance to Stay

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MANILA -- Undocumented students who were brought to the United States as children should be given a chance to stay there, visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Nov. 16 in Manila.

Responding to a question via Skype by Filipino Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, Clinton said it is “important" for undocumented immigrants to “be treated with a humane approach," especially if they are young.

"If you were brought to the U.S. as a child, that's not a decision you made," she said. "If you're a student and you want to remain in the U.S., I believe you have to be given the opportunity to do so."

Vargas—who confessed in a New York Times article last July that he was an undocumented immigrant—asked the U.S. Secretary of State: "Given the important role that documented and undocumented Filipino immigrants play in society, how would you define American?"

Speaking before the audience of the forum "A Conversation in Manila" at the National Museum, Clinton also said she disagrees "with a lot of people in the other side of the spectrum," referring to those who are pushing for the deportation of illegal immigrants, including students and young professionals.

Last year, the U.S. Senate rejected the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors or the federal DREAM Act, a 10-year-old piece of legislation that can secure citizenship for undocumented students brought to the United States as children.

Clinton admitted that the U.S. government has "to make some changes" in the immigration system, which she said, echoing Vargas, is "badly broken."