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Shortly after President Obama announced his executive order to protect over 4 million undocumented immigrants from being deported, Hillary Clinton voiced her support via Twitter.

She then released the following statement:

I support the President's decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation's prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we're not discussing abstract statistics—we're talking about real families with real experiences. We're talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.

Clinton has been relatively quiet in recent months on big political issues, especially for someone who is likely gearing up a run for the White House. In The Atlantic last month, Peter Beinert noted that up until very recently, Clinton has been all but mute on immigration:

In September in Iowa, when an immigration activist named Cesar Vargas asked an autograph-signing Clinton "if you stand by the president's delay on immigration," she replied, "I think we have to elect more Democrats." The following month in North Carolina, when 25-year-old Oliver Merino told Hillary that his mother risked being deported, she replied, "I understand immigration is an important issue, and we appreciate that. We thank you for your advocacy."

Compare her statement above with this video from September, and you'll see two polar opposite approaches, pre- and postelection:

The presumptive Democratic front-runner for 2016 stands in stark contrast to Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who both quickly denounced Obama's action after his address. Regardless of what more (if anything) happens on immigration, the contrast between Clinton and the emerging GOP field signals the beginnings of a policy fight to come over the next two years.

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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