Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley weighed in on the immigration debate during his visit to Los Angeles on Thursday, telling reporters that the U.S. immigration system is so broken, “we’re in danger of creating a whole subclass of people in our own country.”
O’Malley, who was is in town to address the Young Democrats of America National Convention, also took a jab at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s immigration policy.
“Donald Trump talks about self deporting 11 million Americans,” said O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland. “I can only imagine that his climate proposal would be to build an ark and start marching in animals two by two.”
Despite his low standing in the polls for the Democratic nomination, O’Malley said he hasn’t found it too difficult to cut through all the “Trump noise” — at least so far.
“In the early states, thank goodness, it’s still very much living room to living room, town hall to town hall,” he said, before adding, “On the national news, I suppose it’s hard to pierce through.”
On Wednesday, O’Malley managed to make a little noise of his own when he spoke in front of the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas along with hotel workers who were trying to unionize, lambasting the real estate mogul turned candidate for his racially charged comments on immigration.
On Thursday, O’Malley sidestepped queries about his chief Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, refusing to discuss her email controversy or whether it could mean an end to her campaign. “That’s for other people to determine,” he said.
While Clinton is facing growing criticism for her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and has seen her poll numbers drop in recent weeks, her support among Hollywood donors seems unshakable.
“The Clintons are probably the most formidable political organizing and fundraising couple in the history of Democratic republics,” said O’Malley, whose L.A.-based supporters include Sony Pictures SVP Eric Paquette and Dixon Slingerland, executive director of the nonprofit Youth Policy Initiative.
Since he announced his candidacy on May 30, he has lagged badly in the polls. According to a CNN/ORC poll on Wednesday, O’Malley has the support of just 2 percent of Democratic-leaning voters, trailing Clinton (47 percent), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (29 percent) and Vice President Joe Biden (14 percent).
“When we announced in this race, it wasn’t because I thought I’d be at 50 percent,” O’Malley said. “I’ve been in uphill battles before. I actually do better in tough fights.”