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July 28, 2014

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Las Vegas immigration advocate Astrid Silva earns national honor

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Sam Morris

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen hugs Astrid Silva while they gather to listen to President Obama’s announcement of new immigration reforms Friday, June 15, 2012, at the offices of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

A prominent immigration reform advocate and community organizer from Las Vegas who has helped influence Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid garnered more national recognition this week.

The American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award winner is Astrid Silva, an organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Silva has been on of the most visible faces of Las Vegas’ immigration reform movement, going public with her undocumented status before getting a work permit through the deferred action for childhood arrivals program.

"We are overwhelmed with pride that Astrid is receiving this much-deserved national recognition," Bob Fulkerson, state director for PLAN, said in a statement. "Not a day goes by that Astrid does not impress us with her tenacity, selflessness and the impossible amount of infectious joy she brings to organizing, despite she and her family living the heart-breaking realities of our broken immigration system every single day."

Reid shared Silva’s story last year on the Senate floor while arguing for the passage of a sweeping immigration reform bill.

"When comprehensive immigration reform finally passes, it will be because of organizers like Astrid who wouldn't take no for an answer," Laura Martin, communications director for PLAN, said in a statement. "Astrid could have quietly gone on to fix her own status, but she selflessly uses her story to motivate community members across the state to take action and make the case for comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship."

American Immigration Lawyers Association Nevada representative and Las Vegas immigration attorney Peter Ashman nominated Silva.

Silva will receive the award in a ceremony Thursday in Washington, D.C. She’ll be accompanied by her father, Cesar Silva. He was living in the country illegally and became a victim of fraudulent legal services before he received prosecutorial discretion to temporarily remain in the country. Cesar Silva received special permission from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to travel outside of Clark County for the special occasion.

The American Immigration Council also will honor Eliseo Medina of Service Employees Union International, GALA Theatre founders Rebecca and Hugo Medrano and immigration reform leader Jeanne Butterfield.

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