Las Vegas Sun

August 24, 2019

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Letter to the editor:

Economy runs on immigrants

Updated Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | 9:27 a.m.

I’m a room maid at the MGM Grand. I’m also an immigrant who’s held temporary protected status in the United States for 23 years. In response to the July 5 editorial “Treatment of migrants underscored by vile messages on social media,” I too am horrified.

In 1998, I fled Honduras because of violence and poverty and earned TPS. Today, the Trump administration is targeting 318,000 TPS holders for deportation.

We’ve done nothing wrong. TPS holders live and work here with legal authorization. Las Vegas tourism depends on immigrants, who make up over 40% of the hospitality workforce.

Every day in the hotels lining the Strip, my coworkers and I keep things running. Collectively, we are the workers who welcome 42 million visitors to Southern Nevada each year, pouring $58.8 billion in spending into the local economy. Without us, it couldn’t exist.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m exasperated to find myself at risk of losing legal status. TPS was supposed to end at some point, but decades have passed. My three children are Americans.

I settled in Nevada to pursue the American dream: a life free from fear and with the ability to work and contribute to my community. TPS let me do that.

TPS holders are workers, taxpayers and homeowners. It’s in everyone’s interest for us to stay and contribute to our communities. That’s why Congress needs to pass bipartisan legislation protecting us, and refuse to treat TPS holders as political bargaining chips. It’s the right thing to do and is what’s best for Nevada’s economy.

Francis García, Las Vegas

An earlier version of this letter inadvertently left off the author’s name.