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Thu Aug 20, 2015, 09:05 PM

Activists Push Back On Hillary Clinton Comments About Border Children — With An O’Malley Assist.

Activists say Clinton opened up old wounds with comments about how to approach the Central American children who crossed the border last summer. But the O’Malley camp is also pushing advocates to scrutinize Clinton on the issue.

Immigration advocates Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with remarks Hillary Clinton made this week that they say amount to doubling down on her stance last year that most of the Central American children who streamed across the border should be given as much love as possible but most should ultimately be sent back.

On Tuesday, Clinton said her past comments were the “responsible” message to send to families in Central America.

“Specifically with respect to children on the border, if you remember, we had an emergency, and it was very important to send a message to families in Central America: Do not let your children take this very dangerous journey because a lot of children did not make it,” Clinton said. . .

There’s an additional political dimension to this, too. Officials with Martin O’Malley’s campaign have sought to promote his immigration plan and draw contrasts with Clinton. The campaign’s director of public engagement, Gabriela Domenzain, has spoken with activists, trying to get them to scrutinize her campaign more closely on the immigration issue.

United We Dream said it did not speak with the O’Malley campaign before releasing a statement hitting Clinton on Thursday.
But a source later disputed this, saying the campaign did speak with UWD activists.

Domenzain said she has longstanding relationships with advocates, checking in with them often, and has not only been focused on Clinton, but more broadly has tried to bring more attention to the ongoing issue with children who are in family detention.

Asked about the O’Malley campaign’s stance on the children who come from Central America, Domenzain said it’s simple: “These are refugees and we should welcome them.”

The former Maryland governor’s campaign proudly notes that the state has the highest number of unaccompanied minors being cared for per capita.


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