POLITICS

Clinton pledges to create federal immigrant affairs office 'to coordinate policy'

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL12:  Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a roundtable discussion on pay equality April 12, 2016 in New York City. The New York Democratic primary is April 19. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL12: Democratic presidential candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a roundtable discussion on pay equality April 12, 2016 in New York City. The New York Democratic primary is April 19. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)  (2015 Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton announced on Tuesday that if elected president she will create a national Office of Immigrant Affairs to coordinate programs and policies across both federal and state agencies.

A Clinton aide told Fox News that the Democratic front-runner’s proposed office would be meant to ensure that immigrants and refugees become integrated into the communities they join and would implement the recommendation made in a 2014 Obama administration task force on immigration.

“Clinton will work to implement the task force's recommendations, and create the first-ever federal Office of Immigrant Affairs to make sure that there is a dedicated place in the White House where integration services are studied and coordinated across the government,” the aide told Fox News.

At the official announcement on Tuesday morning at the SEIU offices in Midtown Manhattan, Clinton said the new department, "would build on the work of the Obama administration task force to create a dedicated place in White House to coordinate policies across the federal government and with state and local governments as well."

The former First Lady added, "I will provide 15 million dollars in grants to fund efforts like community navigators who help guide immigrants through this system."

The announcement by the former Secretary of State came on the same day that she received the endorsement of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, a non-profit group dedicated to the advancement of immigrant rights.

Clinton and her Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have been fighting to win over Latino voters in the Empire State ahead of the state's April 19 primary election.  

While Clinton maintains a strong lead in the polls in the state she once represented in the Senate – 53 percent to 39 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics' average of the polls – Sanders has closed the gap over the last month as they battle for New York’s 291 delegates.

Clinton and her allies have slammed Sanders in a number of campaign stops and TV spots for voting against a 2006 immigration bill in the Senate. Sanders is taking Clinton to task for her opposition in 2007 to granting driver’s licenses to New York’s undocumented immigrants.

The two candidates will go head-to-head in a CNN/NY1-hosted debate – the first Democratic debate since early March – on Thursday night at at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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