Frontera Fund News

Hillary’s VP Pick Has Surprising Views on Immigration

Senator Tim Kaine has famously incorporated Spanish into his speeches.
Senator Tim Kaine has famously incorporated Spanish into his speeches.

When Hillary Clinton chose Senator Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential running mate, some Democrats bemoaned the promotion of yet another white, male politician. Then Kaine seasoned his acceptance speech with Spanish – the language he used to deliver an entire Senate speech in 2013 – and the pendulum swung the other way. Pundits began accusing the Dems of “Hispandering,” overzealously (and perhaps inauthentically) trying to lure the Latino vote.

But there is evidence that Kaine, who became fluent in Spanish while doing missionary work in Honduras, is a sincere supporter of immigrants.

He spoke out against SB 1070: “Arizona’s new law tramples on Americans’ basic notions of justice and legitimizes prejudice. It is both small-minded and short-sighted.” 

He supported the DREAM Act: “We want youngsters who are in this country not to be locked into underachievement, but to be overachievers. They’ll create more opportunities for others if they can have that status.”

He’s pro DACA: “The DACA program announced by the President has allowed young people to contribute to our communities, live without constant fear of deportation, keep families together and provide economic and educational opportunities for these young recipients… [DREAMers] want to return the opportunities afforded to them by using their talents to improve their communities and make it a better place for everybody.” 

He favors DAPA and DACA+. In April, Kaine participated in the DAPA Dinners campaign. He met with the Orellanas, a mixed-status family originally from Bolivia, who discussed with Kaine how DAPA and DACA+ would benefit them and other families. “We are a nation of immigrants and our policies should bring families together, not tear them apart,” Kaine tweeted after the dinner.

He voted yes on S. 744, an immigration reform bill that passed the Senate, but not the House of Representatives, in 2013. The bill, which never became a law, would have provided a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

He wants to make it easier for foreign-born students to get visas and green cards after they graduate.

He supports immigration reform: “For far too long, our immigration system has placed undue burdens on legal immigrants and kept millions of others living in the shadows of our society. I support a bipartisan approach to immigration reform that will provide a better visa system to encourage growth of a talented workforce, enhance our border security, create a path to normalizing the legal status of those here unlawfully – following compliance with various requirements such as payment of taxes and a fine – and establish a better system for companies to verify the immigration status of their employees.”

You can watch Kaine’s 2013 Senate floor speech in Spanish here and read the transcript in both Spanish and English here.