Las Vegas Sun

July 1, 2015

Currently: 89° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Dozens rally, saying now is the time for immigration reform


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Supporters applaud during a rally in support of immigration reform Saturday, March 30, 2013.

Immigration Reform Rally March 30, 2013

Sen. Ruben Kihuen speaks during a rally in support of immigration reform Saturday, March 30, 2013. Launch slideshow »

As Carla Hernandez prepared to enter her senior year at Desert Pines High School, she worried that her education would come to a halt when she graduated.

Hernandez, who entered the country illegally with her family when she was a small child, dreamed of being a nurse but couldn’t qualify for financial aid or scholarships for college because of her residency status.

Her family considered sending her to Mexico, a country Hernandez said she has no memory of, in order to further her education.

Now only a few months from graduation, Hernandez proudly states that she’ll be studying nursing at the College of Southern Nevada next year after receiving a work permit and Social Security card through the federal deferred action program.

“This is my home,” Hernandez told a crowd of more than 40 cheering supporters Saturday. “I’m on the pathway to completing my dream.”

Hernandez and others gathered Saturday at the downtown offices of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada to rally support for immigration reform, which is expected to be a hot topic of national debate in the coming months.

The crowd crossed ethnic and generational lines, featuring about 15 students from Desert Pines High School, several Clark County School District teachers, political leaders and other community activists.

The group took to the streets around noon Saturday, waving signs and chanting “Now is the time” as they marched a few blocks down Las Vegas Boulevard to the front of the Lloyd George Federal Building.

The demonstration was one of many held across the country as part of a national day of action meant to raise awareness about immigration reform.

Within the next few weeks, comprehensive immigration legislation is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate that would secure the border, improve the immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the country after entering illegally.

Addressing Las Vegas activists Saturday, State Sen. Ruben Kihuen compared the immigration reform effort to the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the fight for marriage equality, which last week made its way to the United States Supreme Court.

“Immigration issues and Latino issues are everybody’s issues. They impact all of us,” Kihuen said. “There are millions of people all across America who come here and work hard ... contribute to our economy and deserve an opportunity.”

Kihuen urged the crowd to stay active by contacting their elected officials to urge them to support immigration reform. He also encouraged people to make their voices heard by showing up at legislative hearings in Carson City or at the Grant Sawyer building in Las Vegas.

“If Nevadans show up to the Legislature en masse, it will send a strong message that they care,” Kihuen said. “It shows that if (legislators) don’t support these issues, they’ll have to pay the consequences at election time.”

Astrid Silva, a deferred action recipient like Hernandez, spent the past week in Carson City working with Kihuen and other legislators advocating on issues that are important to young people, including testifying at hearings for several bills.

Silva, 24, said she was forced to make the eight-hour drive to Carson City to testify before the Legislature in 2011 because she didn’t have identification and couldn’t get on a plane. This time, with the help of deferred action, Silva was able to fly to the state’s capital.

“Our obstacles are starting to clear up,” she said. “ I can’t even imagine all of the things that are going to happen now.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Deportation not parasitism, NOW

  2. And the bleeding hearts are at it again..

  3. Deportation is NOT the answer; Alaina has it correct, comprehensive immigration reform laws need to be passed. This is a nation of immigrants, and some of you on this thread could probably not pass the citizenship or background check tests. Have some compassion, and look into the flaws that our present system has, instead of just making inflammatory, ignorant comments.

  4. I drove past these demonstrators yesterday and flashed them the peace sign in support. Can't help it. It's m-m-my g-g-gen-generation. I support them on a common sense legislation for a pathway to citizenship.

    Yes. You heard me. I support doing the right thing.

    Get something up for a vote. Whether it passes or not, get it out there. We want to see who votes against it. I hate to say it, but I have no hopes at all for the entire Tea/Republican Party. They won't change. They find it easier to dehumanize and demonize an entire race of people. All so they can appease their core voters.

    If it does pass, that just means more voters out here who will absolutely crush the ultra-conservatives in the coming elections. They deserve it. They need to understand America is changing. Changing for the better. We ain't staying stuck in this prejudicial rut with warped narrow minded stereotypical racist thinking that exists now with their totally unacceptable way of thinking. The time for change is here. And it's not later. It's NOW.

    The Tea/Republican Party has said a few weeks ago they have changed. They have soul searched. But the problem is when you don't have a soul at all, it's very hard to find it. They are stuck in their old ways and absolutely refuse to change.

    Don't believe me? Look at the totally reprehensible Congressman from Alaska and what he said last week. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it that he apologized. But if you look at it, he apologized TWICE. The first time was just offhandedly like it was nothing but a thing, waved off as if he had to do it, but he did actually speak what he thought. Then when his own party leaders called him out, he gave ANOTHER apology.

    So much for Tea/Republicans changing. This is certifiable proof THEY WON'T. They could care less.

    Get this up for a vote. The American people want to see who does the right thing. The ones that vote against it? We'll target them in the next election and vote them out of office. And quick.

  5. Vegas is a minority majority. Our community is a place of immigrants. Now is the time to embrace our diversity. It is ridiculous to expect Americans - and yes they are Americans - to leave their country of choice or stay degraded by an unjust system.

    I'm happy and supportive of the movement to offer opportunity - complete citizenship. We need immigration reform.

    I will support Ruben Kihuen and Mo Denis as they fight racist anti-immigrant legislation that has been proposed this session. I will support the Driver Privilege Card and I will continue to press until there is a full opportunity for a Driver's License.

    My students and our children are in need of our help - to learn English and do well in school. My DREAMERS who want documents to live a full American life - deserve equality and fairness. Our children run scared in the shadows - settling for lives as second class - unable to fully participate with their peers because of the condition of their papers. This is not right.

    The Statue of Liberty should remind us that America has always been the land of opportunity. To slam the door on our neighbors because they seek to better their lives and community through hard work and ingenuity and struggle - that would be Anti-American.

  6. Nowhere in this article, did it state, that the Dreamer, Desert High School student Carla Hernandez, nor her family, have/has taken steps in all these years, to become naturalized!

    It is pure arrogance to enter this country ILLEGALLY, reside in this country without going forward to become LEGAL, and furthermore, work in this country without having the legal right to work here. They, and all who those who do this, are CRIMINALS, regardless of all the Commenters' feelings about this family and others like them!

    There are no other countries in the World, on this planet, that have open borders and a free ticket of support while residing, working, being educated in that country.

    If my Grandparents respected the United States of America's laws enough to follow the laws on how to become naturalized citizens, what makes these people so special????

    It causes our country more HARM than good, to open the doors wide open, without accountability nor respect of our USA laws (which were created by consensus for the good of all).

    There are no incentives for these illegal immigrants to follow our laws, learn the English language, nor participate in the American culture here. The performance of our American educational system has been harmed by these folks, our American workers have been harmed by these folks, our American infrastructures have been harmed by these folks. American education is no longer the great equalizer, as we are going broke trying to assist and support those who disregard our laws, education, businesses, infrastructure, and American culture. I am personally offended by their arrogance and behaviors, and every voter and Lawmaker should be too.

    Faith in our government has been steadily declining, and it is no wonder why, when they cannot follow and enforce the law that are already on the books!

    Blessings and Peace,

  7. Star, your closing of "Blessings and Peace" is completely refuted by your post.