Las Vegas Sun

May 17, 2022

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Don’t look past undocumented immigrants

Today, as Vice President Kamala Harris touches down at McCarran International Airport and kicks off her Las Vegas visit, she will walk by hundreds of TPS holders who keep the airport going.

Her motorcade will drive by UNLV, where thousands of undocumented students work to get their degree, without the federal aid their peers can access. Continuing on toward the Strip, Harris will witness the towering resorts built by tireless immigrants who, like my father, work as construction laborers.

Once the motorcade reaches the Strip, the vice president will face a sea of tourists enjoying their vacation with yardlong Fat Tuesdays. In between those tourists, she will witness the backbone of our city, the thousands of immigrant service and hospitality workers.

Before Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, I was one of those undocumented workers. For almost eight years, I worked as a line cook with some of the best chefs in the industry and many undocumented immigrants who simply wanted to provide for their families. We endured long hours for little pay. But that didn’t matter because we knew we were here for the American dream, in hopes of a pathway to citizenship.

Each of these immigrants, who are essential for our community depend, on the Biden administration to keep their promises and end decades of uncertainty and broken dreams. If Harris wants to claim “America’s Back Together,” we need relief for immigrants who are essential workers in a pandemic while risking deportation.

The writer is the organizing director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and leads the Nevada Immigrant Coalition.