Immigration Law Blog

Monday, July 20, 2015

Democrat Martin O'Malley Unveils Immigration Plan

Democrat Martin O'Malley Unveils Immigration Plan

Martin OMalley


Railing against what he described as a broken immigration system that tears families apart and stifles economic growth, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley said Tuesday he would use aggressive executive action to limit deportations if elected to the White House.

The former governor of Maryland unveiled his immigration platform at an event in Manhattan, where a handful of immigrants shared their personal stories.

"As Americans, we are good people. And we can do better than this backward, broken immigration process that rips families apart," O'Malley said.

The relatively little-known Democrat is working to gain traction in a race dominated by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As part of his platform, O'Malley vowed to close detention facilities and press Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for millions who entered the country illegally. He also vowed to expand health care for immigrants and create an independent agency that would work to refine immigration policy.

The moves, he said, would go further than President Barack Obama, who has put into place a series of executive actions aimed at deferring deportations for millions of immigrants in the country illegally, including those who arrived in the United States as young children.

"I believe that every president moves the ball down the field as much as much as they possibly can. And I would move it further," O'Malley said. "We cannot stop until we achieve comprehensive immigration reform."

The event came as the crowded Republican field continues to grapple with comments about immigrants made by businessman Donald Trump, who, during his campaign announcement speech, portrayed Mexican immigrants as criminals.

O'Malley said it was "disturbing" that not all of the other Republican presidential candidates had denounced the comments.

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