Martin O'Malley Not Yielding to Hillary Clinton on Hispanic Vote

Ex-Maryland gov vows to push for immigration overhaul in first 100 days.

ByJim Avila, Serena Marshall and Courtney Barrow
June 03, 2015, 6:52 PM

— -- At his first campaign event since declaring his presidential campaign, it was clear that former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has not ceded the Hispanic vote to Hillary Clinton.

Appearing at an event hosted by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., O’Malley outlined his plans for immigration overhaul if elected, and tried to distinguish himself from President Obama and Hillary Clinton, who has grabbed a foothold with Hispanic voters.

“I intend to make a great comprehensive immigration reform a national economic priority and a national security priority, and I am going to do whatever it takes to get it done during my service in office,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley said he would “absolutely do everything in [his] power” to push for immigration reform within his first 100 days in office, a promise Hillary Clinton hasn’t made. And a promise President Obama broke during his first year in office, making health care and financial reforms a priority.

The former governor, 52, is making a special effort to garner the Hispanic vote, 71 percent of which went to Obama versus Romney’s 27 percent in 2012.

“I would use my executive authority to protect public safety,” he said. “But we should not break up families.”

In differentiating himself from Clinton, who came out in support of a pathway to citizenship and support for the so-called Dreamers, the governor said he would make comprehensive immigration reform a top priority and “intend to pursue it and intend to pursue it first and foremost in the conversation” and that his record on the issue speaks for itself.

“I've listed the things that I did when I had the power and was in office, and I intend to offer that same sort of leadership, and then we'll let the people decide,” he said.

While governor of Maryland, O’Malley passed a state version of Deferred Action for Dreamers, as well as supporting drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. Maryland also offered services and support for children brought across during the migrant flood last summer.

“I've listed the things that I did when I had the power and was in office, and I intend to offer that same sort of leadership, and then we'll let the people decide,” he said.

He added that while he would want immigration reform to happen as quickly as possible, if not done in the first 100 days, he will keep working until it is comprehensive reform is achieved.

“We have to work through our politics,” he said. “This should have been done years ago.”

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