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Juan González: Martin O’Malley Puts Forth Broadest Immigration Reform Plan of 2016 Campaign

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On Tuesday, former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley vowed to go beyond President Obama in using executive power to help the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants. O’Malley’s plan would expand deferred action against deportation and sharply reduce the number of people jailed while awaiting deportation. Juan González met with O’Malley on Tuesday and discusses his plan.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, Juan, you were covering Martin O’Malley, the Democratic presidential candidate, who came to New York.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes. Well, O’Malley had a roundtable here with immigrant advocates in New York City, some of them from Maryland, from his home state of Maryland, to announce his bold new immigration policy as presidential candidate. And he got a lot of support from a lot of the immigration advocates. He’s proposing to go even further than President Obama has, if he’s elected president, in terms of using executive action to offer some kind of support to the 11 million undocumented in the country. He’s proposing to extend the coverage of the federal healthcare act, Obamacare, to undocumented immigrants. And he’s also proposing to sharply reduce the number of immigrants held in detention pending resolution of their immigration status and to sharply cut the population now under detention. So, it’s a pretty—it’s probably the boldest plan of any presidential candidate in terms of dealing with immigration.

And clearly O’Malley is way down in the polls among the four declared Democratic candidates, but my sense is that once people start to hear him in some of the debates, his support is going to grow. He’s certainly much more to the left of Hillary Clinton and somewhat more charismatic and perhaps less threatening to many in the establishment than a Bernie Sanders. And I think he’s going to grow considerably in support as time goes on.

And I think in—in the interview I had with him, he was especially focused on reforms in education and in student debt. He confided that he and his wife have over $300,000 in loans that they’ve taken out for the education of their children, and that they are definitely determined to do something about bringing down the cost of higher education to millions of American college students.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan, we’ll link to your column at

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