(CNSNews.com) - At a campaign event in Indianola, Iowa, on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called illegal immigrants “new American immigrants” while touting his efforts to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and to pass the DREAM Act in Maryland.
“[The] question’s about new American immigrants and driver’s licenses about new American immigrants or not-yet-documented citizens. We passed this in my state. It took awhile, had to go over a couple of successive administrations, but we got it done,” said O’Malley, responding to a question about how his efforts to extend licenses to illegal immigrants will factor into his immigration reform policy as president.
“It seemed to us that it made absolutely no sense to make it impossible for people to legally drive to and from work and to get insurance to cover themselves in case God forbid they were in an accident or with you and your family if they hit your car, so we passed that,” he said.
O’Malley was also able to pass the DREAM Act in his state while governor and “defend it at the ballot.”
“It was losing by the way 55-45. We turned that around, and it won with 58 percent of the vote,” he said. “We were also able to take care of more Central American refugee kids per capita than any other state in the union,” he said, adding that it was “partly because of the language that we used and the ethic we called for.”
O’Malley explained that he’s always used the term “new Americans.”
“I’ve always used the term new Americans. I believe our country is made better in every generation by the arrival of new American immigrants,” he said.
“In every generation, new Americans make us stronger and better as a country, and we’re selling ourselves short by not having comprehensive immigration reform. So expectations become behavior. These 11 million people aren’t going to be put on Noah’s ark and sent someplace. Many of them have children who were born here,” O’Malley said.