Hochul explains past anti-immigration views

Jul 18, 2014

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, is explaining why she now feels differently about undocumented immigrants. Hochul, the former Erie County clerk, once wanted to turn immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally over to federal authorities.

Hochul has been meeting privately with key Latino leaders since her nomination in May. She says it was a different time and place back in 2006, when she was Erie County clerk and opposed to then Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants.

She says she threatened to turn in those suspected of being in the country illegally partly because her husband, a U.S. attorney, was working on anti-terrorism measures and Buffalo is located on a key border site with Canada.

“It is that context, that as a national security matter, that I didn’t feel that I could properly give a license to someone when I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Hochul said. “Because that license allows them to get on a plane, and God only knows where they would go with that.”

Hochul says she no longer feels that way and now supports the Dream Act "one thousand percent," which would give college aid to children of undocumented immigrants. She also says she is not a bank lobbyist in her position at M&T Bank, but says she’s quitting the job at the end of the month, confident of her chances of winning the election.