O’Malley Condemns Deportations at Des Moines Event and Gets Standing Ovation

Jan 10, 2016
10:25 AM

Yesterday at the ICCI Families First Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley delivered a passionate condemnation of the federal government’s current immigration enforcement policies, leading to a standing ovation from the audience. As moderator and MSNBC contributor Dorian Warren looked on, the former Maryland governor reiterated positions that he has been sharing on the campaign trail ever since he made his announcement to run for President. The O’Malley campaign provided Latino Rebels with a YouTube clip of O’Malley’s speech:

The campaign also sent a transcript of key excerpts from the video:

We need to shut down these shameful for-profit prisons that are proliferating all over our country. It is a national shame that we the people of the United States of America maintain the largest system of immigrant detention camps in the world and we need to get away from those and shut those down.

It is inconsistent with our principles as a free people, as a nation of nations and as a nation of immigrants that we would ever shut our doors on refugee families, whether they’re fleeing genocide in Syria or death gangs in Central America. And let us not forget this, let us not forget this, that this announcement came at Christmas time. Jesus himself was a refugee child, fleeing death gangs at Christmas time.

I was the first candidate and let us hope not the last to call upon the Secretary of Homeland Security to reverse these cruel and inhumane [deportation] policies and use his statutory power to extend temporary protective status to those Central American refugee kids who have come here.

Two years ago, when the Central American refugee kids were coming here, there was some Governors in the United States, one of whom even used the phrase, he said ‘I heard they might be in my state. I’m going to find out where these rascals are and round them up.’ Like they were a pack of swarming jackrabbits instead of children with the same human dignity your children and my children have.

We took a different course in Maryland. I brought together people collaboratively – faith leaders from across the spectrum, and we accommodated 5,000 kids, more than any other state in America, in foster homes, not in detention camps.

What distinguishes me from the other candidates in this race? I’ve been consistent. I don’t say to one group that I’m in favor of building more walls and to another group I then use the term ‘new Americans.’ I have always used the term new Americans. I have always kept a sign on my desk as Mayor and Governor from the 1880s when my great-grandfather came here that reads “help wanted. No Irish need apply.” I was for drivers licenses and fought for drivers licenses for new American immigrants. I passed the DREAM Act in my state and defended it at the ballot. And I do not believe that new American immigrants take our jobs, no. New American immigrants make America stronger. It’s what makes America, America.

And so in conclusion, let me say, to that immigrant bashing, carnival barker Donald Trump that our enduring symbol of the United States is not the barbed wire fence, it is the Statue of Liberty.

The part of O’Malley being “consistent” on immigration referred to the time in New Hampshire last year when Hillary Clinton said, “Well look, I voted numerous times when I was a Senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders.” Clinton has since said that her use of the term “illegal immigrants” was a “poor choice of words.”

O’Malley and Senator Bernie Sanders both attended the Des Moines forum. Clinton did not participate.

Twitter has several video clips of the forum, including footage from Sanders’ appearance.

Attendees also tweeted their concern that Clinton was not at the forum.