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Immigration News Today: Martin O'Malley Meets With Hunger Strikers, Immigrant Detainee Family

First Posted: Dec 15, 2015 12:56 PM EST

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley met with hunger strikers and immigrant detainees on Tuesday ahead of his immigration address at the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC).

Immigration is not an issue exclusively affecting Latinos, but also Europeans and Asians. In Brooklyn, the former Maryland governor met with Mohammad Aminul Islam and Sumon Ahmed, both migrants from Bangladesh, who fled to due government repression. Ahmed and Islam were detained at the El Paso detention center in Texas, where they were held for more than a year. After a fellow Bangladeshi detainee was deported, the migrants and 54 other detainees started a hunger strike. Ahmed and Islam have been released from detention, but remain under supervision. Currently living in New York City, the migrants are still organizing on behalf of fellow detainees.

O'Malley also met with organizers of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a group for low-income South Asian immigrant workers and youth. He also heard from Bangladeshi mother Fima Akter and her U.S.-born daughter Moriom Uddin. Akter's brother and nephew are in a detention center in Aurora, Colorado. 

O'Malley addressed NIIC attendees and reiterated his immigration proposals, which includes enhanced naturalization process efforts. As O'Malley told Latin Post last July, his immigration agenda calls for guaranteed access to learn English, encourage in-state tuition across all states for immigrants, improve labor protections and allow immigrants to enroll in Obamacare.

O'Malley's plan to expand the Affordable Care Act to immigrants could include an executive action, if he's elected president. He pledged to use the executive authority to allow immigrants to receive the same tax credit subsidies and other benefits as people lawfully present in the U.S. He claimed the addition of immigrants in the Obamacare marketplace will reduce health care expenses for all enrollees.

The Democratic presidential candidate's address comes after fellow candidate Hillary Clinton spoke to the NIIC crowd on Monday. Clinton also met with an immigrant family with varied immigration statuses. The Suarez family, who fled Honduras, includes a U.S. citizen, two Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and an undocumented parent who would benefit from the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

In a statement, Marcy Suarez, a DACA recipient, revealed she told Clinton that more has to be done in regards to protection. She added, "We need DAPA now, and we need expanded relief to protect as many undocumented families as possible. Over the past three years, I have registered hundreds of voters in immigrant communities on Long Island to make sure that those of us who are eligible to vote make our voices heard at the polls. This election, immigrants are going to do just that. I thank Secretary Clinton for hearing us out."

Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will also address NIIC attendees, but through teleconference, on Tuesday afternoon.

Clinton, O'Malley and Sanders have each supported a pathway to citizenship, support DACA and DAPA and have called for the end of private detention centers. 


For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email:

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