Clinton's call for new immigration office draws fire

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Hillary Clinton announced Wednesday she intends to create a new "Office of Immigrant Affairs" if elected president – a plan swiftly ripped by critics as a redundant piece of bureaucracy that might be better politics than policy.

The Democratic presidential primary front-runner briefly outlined the plan at a Manhattan event where she picked up the endorsement of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, an advocacy group.

“I would create the first ever Office of Immigrant Affairs,” Clinton said. “[The office] would create a dedicated place in the White House to coordinate integration policies across the federal government and with state and local government as well.”

A Clinton aide told Fox News ahead of the announcement that the office will ensure that immigrants, refugees and their children are able to become fully integrated members of their communities and country.

Steve Choi, of the New York Immigration Action Fund, said at the event that the group supported the creation of the office as part of a broader push for helping immigrants in the U.S.

“Things like the establishment of the Office of Immigrant Affairs, making sure that immigrants are going to have access to adult education and to English language classes, reducing barriers to naturalization, providing support for immigration services and … for immigration navigators who can actually provide the critically needed services that our immigrant communities need to fully be able to thrive in America,” Choi said.

Further details were not announced by Clinton or her campaign staff. The Clinton campaign did not respond to’s requests for details on what the office would do, or how much it would cost.

Critics immediately questioned the proposal, while accusing Clinton of angling for votes.

“It illustrates how out of touch Clinton is with what the public wants; secure borders and the laws enforced,” said Bob Dane, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-illegal immigration group.

“Instead, Hillary simply wants to double down on Obama’s executive actions and then create an office that identifies, aggregates and grants every conceivable benefit across the spectrum in a one-stop shop that might be called the Office of Minting Democrat Voters,” Dane said.

Alex Nowrasteh, immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, told that adding more bureaucracy was not going to do anything.

“It wouldn’t be effective at all. The immigration system in the U.S. suffers from too much bureaucracy and federal oversight as it is, adding a coordinating agency can only make that problem worse,” Nowrasteh said.

He also pointed to recent studies showing integration by immigrants is by and large going well.

“Three different reports on assimilation by the National Academy of Science, the OECD, and [a University of Washington economist] all found immigrants integrating well without a federal program. The feds have a difficult enough time managing the Post Office, they should not be entrusted with the important task of helping immigrants assimilate,” Nowrasteh said.

Several non-governmental groups also already act as advocates for immigrants and refugees, including CASA de Maryland, Refugee Council USA, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services and The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

A spokesman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- the part of the Homeland Security that oversees immigration and citizenship services – told the agency does not comment on proposals from political candidates.

The Clinton campaign said that the proposal was in response to the recommendations of a 2014 task force set up by the Obama administration to study integration services across the federal government.

The announcement came less than a week before the April 19 Democratic presidential primary in New York, where just over 18 percent of the population is Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.

Fox News’ Ed Henry contributed to this report.