Published Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 | 9:17 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 | 3:29 p.m.
Local activist Astrid Silva and eight other DREAMers today endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, a little more than two weeks before the Nevada Democratic caucus.
Several DREAMers, including Silva, met with all the Democratic candidates and attended several of the Republican candidates’ events. But Silva and the other DREAMers said Clinton was the only candidate who convinced them she could actually do something to change U.S. immigration policy.
Silva said that when she met with Clinton in May for a roundtable discussion at Rancho High School, she felt Clinton was “genuinely listening.”
“She has been able to give us a clear plan as to what she will do when she becomes president, and I know that she has proven record of actually going out there and fighting for the things she believes in,” Silva said.
The DREAMers officially endorsed Clinton today at the campaign’s headquarters in east Las Vegas. The Clinton campaign has been reaching out to the Latino community for months through bilingual organizers, hosting cafecitos and Latino-to-Latino phone banks and canvassing in Latino neighborhoods.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign, too, has been courting Latino voters in Nevada, particularly in recent weeks.
In late January, the campaign launched a Nevada Latino Steering Committee — including congressional candidate and former Assemblywoman Lucy Flores and other members of the Latino community — and hosted a series of Latino-focused events.
When news of the endorsement broke, Sanders’ national Latino press secretary, Erika Andiola, dismissed the endorsement on Twitter, calling it “a press hit.”
State Sen. Tick Segerblom, who supports Sanders, called the endorsement “ironic” on Twitter, saying “dreamers are telling us not to dream.”
In an interview, Silva pushed back on those assertions, specifically the implication that she and other DREAMers are settling for a pragmatic candidate over an idealistic one.
“I met with Sen. Sanders several times. I know his plan. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to him about it and just for me in my heart, I know that Secretary Clinton will actually follow through with it, that she knows how to be able to make things happen,” Silva said. “I don’t think it’s settling at all.”
A tweet from Clinton’s official account also responded to Silva, saying, “You’re part of this team, not a press hit.”
Winning the Latino vote in Nevada would be a boon for either candidate in securing a victory in the state. Latino voters make up 15 percent of the electorate, up 10 percent from 1994.