Democratic Presidential Candidate Martin O’Malley dined with a family of illegal immigrants Thursday in a bid to highlight the benefits of executive amnesty and the plight of the “New American family.”
O’Malley, a former governor of Maryland, has been attempting to stand out from his competition for the Democratic nomination — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — by appealing to the immigrant community with expansive amnesty proposals and rhetoric.
— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) November 12, 2015
According to the Dallas Morning News’ account of the meal, which took place in Austin, the Ramirez’s recounted how they illegally came to the U.S. when their children were young. Their youngest daughter Abigail, age 13, was born in the U.S. and said she is afraid her family members could be deported.
O’Malley, who is at single digits and dead last in national polling for the Democratic nomination, pointed to the differences in his approach to illegal immigrants to that of his opponents, saying Clinton and Sanders are “talking out of both sides of their mouths.”
The former governor further took issue with Clinton’s use of the term “illegal immigrants” during a campaign stop earlier this week.
“If you want us to be a more compassionate nation, you need to speak to the goodness within us, and not the cynical game, saying one thing in front of one crowd — using the term ‘illegal immigrants’ — and then turning around and switching your messaging,” O’Malley said to reporters after the lunch, according to the Texas Tribune.
The candidate also argued the permissibility of President Obama’s executive amnesty programs. An appeals court recently upheld a lower court’s injunction blocking the programs from taking effect.
“I think whatever the hang-up is right now, in terms of administrative procedure, I think all of that is curable,” he said according to the Texas Tribune. “I think it’s pretty clear, and most lawyers agree, that the president has the executive authority, especially in these matters.”
O’Malley chastised Republicans as well, particularly presidential candidate Donald Trump for his deportation plan, saying — according to the Dallas Morning News — that it was “close to ethnic cleansing.”
The most recent Real Clear Politics polling average has O’Malley at 2.4 percent, behind Sanders at 32.6 percent and Clinton at 54.2 percent.