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Clinton To Propose Creation Of Immigrant Affairs Office

Hillary Clinton sits with Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (R) during a campaign stop at Junior's restaurant in Brooklyn. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton on Wednesday will propose the creation of a new national Office of Immigrant Affairs should she win the White House in November, as she seeks to woo minority and immigrant voters in New York less than a week before the state’s primary.

The office would coordinate policies and programs among federal agencies and with state and local governments, Clinton said at an event in New York City where she met with immigrant-rights activists.

“It’s an issue that cuts across all levels of government,” she said. She added that it would expand the efforts of President Barack Obama’s Task Force on New Americans, which was created in 2014 to help immigrants and refugees integrate better into the United States.

In contrast, Republican candidates have largely proposed tougher immigration rules. Republican front-runner Donald Trump has called for building a wall along the border with Mexico and a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country.

The New York primary on Tuesday could either help former Secretary of State Clinton consolidate her status as the Democratic front-runner or hand a significant victory to rival Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator seeking to defy expectations and win the party’s nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

Both candidates are campaigning across the state, looking to win over New York’s diverse population, including voters from immigrant families. Around 19 percent of the state’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census.

With 247 pledged delegates at stake, the state is among the most significant nominating contests left on the calendar before the Democrats’ July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia.

Clinton holds a double-digit lead in opinion polls over Sanders in New York, the state where he was born and which she served for eight years as a U.S. senator. She also holds a commanding lead in pledged delegates overall so far, leaving Sanders only a narrow path if he is to win the nomination out from under her, a task some pundits say is already beyond him.

A Democratic candidate needs 2,383 delegates to clinch the nomination. Those can come from any combination of pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, as well as so-called superdelegates, who can vote as they choose.