Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will become the first of the 2016 presidential candidates to sit down with illegal immigrants for dinner as part of activists’ plan to try to drive the issue and further mainstream people living in the shadows.
Mr. O’Malley will eat with the Ramirez family in Austin, Texas, according to a handful of immigrant-rights groups who are organizing the events, which they’ve dubbed DAPA Dinners, after President Obama’s stymied deportation amnesty, known officially as Deferred Action for Parental Arrivals.
The family is headed by illegal immigrants and four of the six children in the family are also in the country without authorization, according to a video posted by activists in 2013.
Mr. O’Malley has been trying to use the immigration issue to gain a foothold within the Democratic primary, as he struggles to catch Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The groups organizing the dinners said Mr. O’Malley will make history by joining the dinner, becoming the first presidential candidate to knowingly sit down with a family headed by an illegal immigrant.
They are challenging all 2016 candidates to try a dinner.
GOP candidate Carly Fiorina has refused the offer, the groups said.