According to the New York Times, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley sent a letter to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, asking him to rethink planned raids of immigrant families who came over the border in recent years.
“If these reports are true, they raise serious questions about due process for people seeking asylum, and these raids promise to needlessly rip apart more families and communities,” Mr. O’Malley wrote.
“I am writing to respectfully request that D.H.S. reconsider this approach and instead look for ways to humanely treat people seeking refuge and to greatly improve the legal due process necessary for asylum,” he stated.
“When, in 2014, tens of thousands of children made the journey to escape death gangs in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, we called on Marylanders to step up and help accommodate them. Maryland took action to safeguard more refugee kids on a per-capita basis than any other state in the nation. Thousands of families opened their homes as foster families. We recruited pro-bono legal help for case preparation. And we did all of this at minimal cost to the taxpayer.”
Mr. O’Malley called such deportations a “last resort,” and called for a “more rational, fair, and humane” way of dealing with the issue, according to CBS News.
The letter amounts to Mr. O’Malley maintaining pressure on the issue. Both he and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, have criticized the deportation plan, which was revealed by The Washington Post.
Hillary Clinton has walked a more careful line, with a spokeswoman issuing a statement saying she has “concerns” about the raids but treading carefully on criticizing federal officials.
Mr. O’Malley has just four weeks to make a mark before voting begins in the Iowa caucuses. His role in the race, so far, has been to push Hillary Clinton to the left on issues related to immigration as the Democratic Party has made Hispanics an important part of its emerging voter coalition.