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Weekly Comment:
Martin O’Malley Dines with Undocumented Family

Martin O’Malley dines in East Austin with the Ramirez family. The parents, Manuel and Adriana, are undocumented citizens. (Photo: Jordan Rudner / Twitter)

By Adam Farley, Deputy Editor
November 13, 2015

Yesterday Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley accepted an invitation to dine with an undocumented family, becoming the first presidential candidate to do so while on the campaign trail.

O’Malley ate a mid-day meal with the Ramirez family of Austin Texas as part of a handful of immigrant-rights advocacy groups invitation to participate in “DAPA Dinners,” named for President Obama’s executive order granting deferred access status to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents.

The meal came on the heals of a New Orleans fifth-circuit court’s ordering of an injunction against the executive order, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, following a lawsuit by Texas and 25 other states challenging the order’s constitutionality.

O’Malley joined Workers Defense in Action PAC and the Ramirez family for a midday meal as part of the “DAPA Dinners” campaign – a new initiative by America’s Voice, United We Dream Action and Center for Community Change Action/Fair Immigration Reform Movement that invites all 2016 candidates, Senators, and Members of Congress to join an immigrant family for dinner on or around the one-year anniversary of the DAPA announcement on November 20, 2015.

The Ramirez family has lived in Central Texas for years and are active members of their community, both through their church and with Workers Defense in Action PAC. All of Ramirez children attended the University of Texas (or are currently enrolled there) and graduated at the top of their classes. Mrs. Ramirez is a stay at home mom and caretaker of the family. Her husband works in a recycling center and has worked in construction. The story of the Ramirez family is shared with countless other immigrant families across the country who would benefit from DAPA.

O’Malley has become the most vocal supporter of immigration reform within the Democratic primary race, accusing both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton of “talking out of both sides of their mouths,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

The groups who established the DAPA dinners sent invitations to all presidential candidates in both parties. So far, O’Malley has been the only one to accept. Carly Fiorina, the former businesswoman and GOP candidate, has been the only candidate to formally decline.

Of the roughly 11.3 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S., about three-quarters are from Latin America, but many also come from elsewhere, including an estimated 50,000 Irish. O’Malley, former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013. His own ancestors emigrated from Connemara. ♦

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