Note to the Nevada Delegation: Be Bold on Immigration
By Alicia Briancon
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Action Communications Director
In the last year, we have seen this administration rip apart families and terrorize our communities. The attacks on the immigrant community have been relentless. Recently a seven year-old Guatemalan girl named Jakelin Ameí Rosmery Caal Maquinin died in US Customs and Border Protection’s custody from dehydration and starvation. Not to mention, at one point this summer 20 kids were kept per cage and in May there were 2,342 children separated from their families at the border. This is a humanitarian crisis.
What else has to happen? Children are already senselessly dying at the border. Historically, children’s health and safety is a bipartisan issue – the Children’s Health Insurance Program always passed with unanimous support, but last year it was hanging in the balance as thousands of parents waited to determine if their child had health insurance or not. The Republican-led Congress pit children’s health insurance against undocumented immigrants.
The inhumane policies of this administration rival that of fascist regimes.
However, there is hope. During the last election Democrats took back control of the House and Nevada came out on top. Senator Heller lost his seat for the first time in his life because he wasn’t listening to his constituents. We have a new first – two women Democratic Senators and forces on our side that believe Nevada’s immigrants are vital to our state and communities.
This is a good starting point, but with this power comes responsibility and opportunity. Last week at the National Immigration Integration Conference, the largest immigration convening in the country, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer promised that a bill will come to the floor early next year to address immigration reform, which means now is the time for our delegation to be firm and bold on immigration while it is on everyone’s radar.
According to the American Immigration Council, one in five residents of Nevada is an immigrant and about one in six is a native born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent and 25% of the workforce, which is fourth in the country.
The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) has a strong platform for 2019. Immigration reform needs to include a pathway to citizenship for all members of our communities and the criminalization of immigrants must stop. Also, migration is normal. We must commit to the United States as a place of refuge.