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August 19, 2018

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Anti-Trump activist Steyer targets GOP’s Heller, Laxalt

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Carolyn Kaster / AP

Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer speaks during a news conference in Washington, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.

Billionaire anti-Trump activist Tom Steyer visited Las Vegas today with a vow to defend “Dreamers” and immigrant families facing deportation.

Steyer, whose campaign against Trump has included a string of TV commercials and a political action committee supporting Democratic candidates, said the PAC would work aggressively to defeat Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt in this year’s election.

“When people like Dean Heller and Adam Laxalt fail to stand up for what’s right, they allow Mr. Trump’s racism and bigotry and fear-mongering to define them as well,” Steyer said during a news conference at the UNLV Student Union. “If you go along with racist behavior, you’re complicit.”

Steyer’s visit came days after Trump said he would favor shutting down the government if Democrats wouldn’t accept the immigration proposal he unveiled last month.

Trump’s proposal would offer a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” — children brought to the United States by parents who are undocumented immigrants — but impose restrictions on legal immigration and include $25 billion for Trump’s border wall and increased border security.

Trump announced last year that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection for about 800,000 immigrant children from being deported, would end March 5 unless Congress could craft a replacement for it. DACA was the key factor that prompted the Jan. 20 government shutdown, as Democrats refused to support a temporary spending bill that didn’t address the program and Republicans opted not to compromise.

Trump’s new proposal has angered immigration advocates, who have accused the president of using the “Dreamers” as leverage to force through what they describe an overly harsh set of immigration restrictions.

On Tuesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly further incensed immigration advocates by saying that some immigrants who hadn’t applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status were “too lazy to get off their asses.”

Wednesday, the Senate announced it had reached a deal that would head off a government shutdown but did not include a DACA solution. House Speaker Paul Ryan said today he believes there are enough votes in the chamber to pass the measure.

Steyer was joined today by DACA recipients and immigration activists calling for Congress to pass a “clean” Dream Act, one not tied to restrictive elements of Trump’s proposal.

“I hope you take into account that we have lives, we have dreams and we love this country,” said Genaro Marcial-Lorza, a Las Vegas resident who identified himself as a DACA recipient.

Steyer is the main source of funding for the super PAC NextGen Climate Action Committee, which spent $90 million in the last election cycle. He also pledged $30 million last month to activate voters and purchased a copy of the best-selling book “Fire and Fury” for every member of Congress.

But Steyer’s impeachment campaign has been criticized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking members of the Democratic Party, who have described it as baseless threat that the majority of Americans would not support.