Why I Support Martin O'Malley to Be President of the United States

Over 10 years ago, my family and I embarked on a dangerous journey to travel to The United States of America in search of a better life.

Although I was just a kid when my family and I decided to embark on a three-day dangerous journey from El Salvador to The United States, I remember it like it was yesterday; vivid images of my father carrying five gallons of water on his back to make sure my family and I stayed hydrated, eating very little food and having to walk hours and hours at a time, are memories that are still present within my mind.

Years later, I'm a now a junior at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where I am involved in a variety of activities to give back to my community and work towards making sure that one day our families and neighbors won't have to live with the fear of being locked up in cages or deported, resulting in their families being torn apart.

Thanks to President Obama's executive action in 2012, I have been extremely lucky to be a DACA recipient. However, my parents have not been able to have the same luck. And for that, I continue fighting each and everyday to make sure people understand that my parents, my neighbors and my self, are not "rapists" or "criminals," like Donald Trump likes to refers to us, but in fact, we are the total opposite. We are honest, driven and hard-working people, whose only goal is to have a fair shot at the American Dream.

As the 2016 election gets closer, I have been paying attention and taking a careful look at every candidate, their positions, but most importantly, their record.

For years, politicians have been coming around every four years telling our community what they want us to hear, posing next to our favorite Latino celebrities and even eating our favorite foods. Although that is a nice gesture, it is certainly not enough to prove that those leaders will be adequate to truly advocate for my community, my family and myself.

After carefully considering all candidates from both sides of the isle, it is clear there is only one person who has the experience, conviction and record to move my community and our country forward; that person is Governor Martin O'Malley.

Governor O'Malley has the record that proves that he will continue advocating for my family and the undocumented community, which he refers to them as "New Americans." As Governor, Martin O'Malley gave the driver's licenses to the undocumented community, passed the Maryland Dream Act and when Republicans tried to eliminate it, he defended it at the ballot box by building a new consensus and traveling across the State of Maryland, to show that The Maryland Dream Act is good for our economy, good for our national security, and it's a law that represents our values as a country.

Governor O'Malley has been the only presidential candidate, from both sides of the isle, to unveil the most extensive and boldest immigration plan in this race.

If elected, Governor O'Malley's immigration plan would ensure that people like my parents will not have to live in fear of being deported, it would allow the undocumented community to have access to healthcare under The Affordable Care Act, it would expand waivers for the 3/10 year ban, limit detention to only those who pose a clear threat to public safety, end the 34,000 immigration detention bed quota, close inhumane detention facilities, and expand the law, known as "parole-in-place."

Governor O'Malley not only has the record, conviction, and tenacity that shows that he can things done, but he is also a person who isn't afraid to stand up for what is right without measuring or making political calculations.

In 2014, when thousands of immigrant refugees traveled across the border fearing for their lives and a majority of those in Washington D.C., including The White House, said they should be deported back to their countries of origin, Martin O'Malley was the only one candidate who stood up against both parties, including the President of The United States, to welcome these children to the State of Maryland. As a result of Governor O'Malley's efforts, the State of Maryland now houses the highest number of refugee children per capita than any other state in the nation.

In my view, that is true leadership and exactly the kind of conviction we need to see in the next President of The United States.

I want a President that will do the right thing in times of political pressure. I want a President that will ensure that my parents, family, and neighbors will be safe from deportation as we wait for immigration reform to become a reality. I want a President who won't follow public opinion but will forge it. I want a President who has shown me with actions, not words, that he will fight for me from day one. And that President is Martin O'Malley.