Dreamer and immigrant activist Gabby Pacheco endorsed Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley for president on Friday in a op-ed posted by Univision . The nativist hugger (see below) and TheDream.US program director published the endorsement in Spanish. It discards the usual presidential-endorsement tropes. Pacheco doesn’t pretend that O’Malley is likely to win the Democratic nomination or use cliches like “next president” or “next commander in chief.” Instead, she makes the case that O’Malley’s candidacy matters, especially for immigrants and their supporters.

“I am supporting Martin O’Malley because quite simply if it wasn't for him the Democratic Party wouldn’t be discussing the issue of immigration,” she writes.

He’s polling in single digits in Iowa and nationally. He’s attracted much less media coverage that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. But O’Malley has been impossible to ignore in the Democratic debates. Pacheco argues that he had defied political convenience in that role, injecting issues like immigration and the Puerto Rican debt crisis. He called out moderators for not raising these issues in the last Democratic debate. He’s used that platform to speak out on gun control and immigration in particular.

Before Bernie Sanders formulated an immigration policy, O’Malley published an activist’s wish list of reforms. These were largely ignored outside of Latino and left-wing media outlets, but were more widely discussed when many of them popped up in Sander’s plan. Before Clinton was running for president, he criticized her for wanting to quickly deport Central American minors who had applied for humanitarian relief in the summer of 2014.

Some of O’Malley’s immigration advocacy touched on policies too complicated to bring into the debates, such as Temporary Protective Status for Central Americans. It's hard to measure the effect of O’Malley’s immigration policies on the movement, but it often appears that he’s in step or even a step ahead of immigration advocacy organizations.

Pachaco, a Dreamer from Ecuador, has been a leading figure in the immigrant right’s movement. She is famous for offering hugs to immigration hardliners like Sheriff Joe Arpaio (he accepted) and writer Ann Coulter (she declined). O’Malley, she says, just gets it.

“The immigration issue is affecting my family, and its affecting me directly, and O’Malley understands this at a deep level,” she writes in the Univision op-ed.

As an example, she cites his trolling of Arpaio's Arizona offices in a campaign stop last year.

There may not be a Latino/a endorsement that can save O’Malley’s campaign in Iowa, where it faced an existential threat. In short, the reason “ Why O’Malley’s Supporters Matter In Iowa ” isn’t immigration. On Feb. 1st, it’s the possibility that some Iowa precinct caucusers may be forced to shift their vote to Sanders or Clinton or risk it not counting, due to a 15 percent viability rule.

Martin O’Malley’s campaign has been rallying around the hashtag “hold strong,” which can be translated from political Twitter Speak to something like “hold the line,” or “hold on for dear life.” He’s already suffered the electoral humiliation of not qualifying for the Ohio ballot. Losing in Iowa won’t end the campaign, but finishing with zero percent of the vote may cut it short considerably.

If Pacheco’s efforts to keep O’Malley in the race fail, will immigration slip further on the list of Democratic priorities? Let us know what you think in the comments below.