By Jose Serrano ( | First Posted: Dec 19, 2015 11:05 AM EST

Hillary Clinton (Photo : Getty)

One of Hillary Clinton's pitfalls during her 2008 presidential run was that she wasn't strong enough on immigration.

This, for a 2016 Oval Office hopeful who has poignantly vowed to go beyond President Obama's executive order on immigration shielding some 11 million undocumented individuals to stay in the country legally.

Clinton from eight years ago balked in discussing why immigrants should be able to apply for driver's licenses, citing a high probability of themselves or others. Her campaign recently chalked it up to a changing immigration landscape, adding that Clinton supports legislation.

Clinton today - the one leading Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 33 points in a recent Monmouth University poll of potential Democratic voters - promises to go around Congress if immigration talks stall, much like Obama did.

Speaking at the National Immigration Integration Conference this week, the former Secretary of State delved into what her plan entails. She denounced Republican candidate proposals that would separate families, specifically rhetoric about building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, stopping Muslims from entering the country, and a mass deportation of all undocumented immigrants.

"You see I disagree with those who say make America great," said Clinton, referring to GOP front-runner Donald Trump's campaign slogan. "We are great and we're going to stay great, and we're going to get greater."

A memo released last month revealed how far Clinton would go in pushing her executive powers. As president she would "seek to create an accessible pathway for those who are not covered by President Obama's executive actions - such as parents of DREAMers - to apply for deferred action as well." She also plans on phasing out both immigration and family detention centers.

Clinton's ideals mirror executive orders Obama enacted last November; measures a Texas court - along with Republican lawmakers - found unconstitutional.

Obama expanded on the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and created the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans programs in hopes of providing temporary relief from deportation from undocumented immigrants that have roots in the U.S. Texas, along with 25 other states, successfully challenged the initiates, leaving the Obama administration little choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case wouldn't be heard until June, if the Court even elects to hear it. Ruling against Obama's actions would have a detrimental effect on Clinton's campaign. Clinton's platform is centered on offering a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, but growing concerns about terrorism and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' initial decision may sway the country's highest court into derailing her efforts.

 "This is not only about fairness. This is about patriotism," Clinton said at a Dec. 9 campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa. "If Congress won't act, then I will ask the Treasury Department, when I'm there, to use its regulatory authority, if that's what it takes."

If Obama's action fails, Clinton will have an uphill climb in convincing potential voters - including Latino voters she heavily courted over the last eight months - that she can make a difference as president.

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