Hillary Clinton says her use of the term "illegal immigrants" earlier this month was a "poor choice of words."
The Democratic presidential frontrunner said she now commits to stop using the term that dehumanizes undocumented immigrants in a Facebook chat hosted by the Spanish-language television network Telemundo on Tuesday.
"As I've said throughout this campaign, the people at the heart of this issue are children, parents, families, DREAMers. They have names, and hopes and dreams that deserve to be respected," Clinton said during the Facebook chat.
The change of tone comes two weeks after a New Hampshire campaign stop where Clinton praised her support as a Senator “to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.”
“We are a country built by immigrants and our diversity makes us stronger as a nation - it’s something to be proud of, celebrate, and defend,” Clinton went on to say during Tuesday’s Facebook chat.
Clinton committed to not using the term “illegal” when referencing the undocumented population after filmmaker and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas submitted his own question to the Facebook chat.
“I am asking all the presidential candidates to recognize that #wordsmatter by committing to not using the term "illegal" when referencing the undocumented population,” Vargas asked after reminding Clinton she used the term in New Hampshire.
Earlier this month former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley—one of Clinton's Democratic opponents—also criticized the former Secretary for using the the term "illegal immigrant."
“Before one audience, she will talk about immigration reform and the need for it,” O’Malley said in interview with Austin radio station KLRU. “Before another audience, she’ll use the term illegal immigrants and boast about having voted to build a wall and barbed-wire fence.”
O’Malley refers to undocumented immigrants as “new Americans.”
A spokesperson for Define American told Fusion it has tweeted at all the candidates urging them to take the pledge to not refer to immigrants in the U.S. without proper authorization as “illegal immigrants.” So far only Clinton has committed to the pledge.
Fusion and Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos in August told Donald Trump that "no human being is illegal." Fusion has a policy to not use the i-word in any form; we do not refer to human beings as "illegal immigrants," "illegals," or "illegal aliens."
“No human being is illegal,” Ramos told Trump.