As Reform Moves Forward, Thousands of Nevada Immigrants Wait

With an estimated 170,000 undocumented immigrants, Nevada’s future will be deeply impacted by changes to immigration law. Yet with the attention of the Obama Administration and Congress still on healthcare and as well as increasingly on the war in Afghanistan and the ailing economy, movement on immigration reform is beginning to look even farther away.

But as a rally last week demonstrates, some immigrant activists are not willing to wait. Thousands attended as immigrants and advocacy groups organized a day of lobbying and outreach around a major action by Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). Rep. Gutierrez, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Immigration Task Force, outlined principles for immigration reform, calling for “a bill that says if you come here to hurt our communities, we will not support you; but if you are here to work hard and to make a better life for your family, you will have the opportunity to earn your citizenship.”

Rep. Gutierrez, who introduced immigration reform legislation in 2007, supports the use of biometric ID cards to track immigrants and prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers. He supports “tough enforcement” of immigration laws, but critics charge that his proposals are not backed up by funding. Among the principles Rep. Gutierrez emphasized were these:

> A pathway for illegal immigrants to gain an adjustment of status

> Better border crossings and dignified immigrant detention

> Protections for those with work permits

> Policies that unite families through family visas

> Educational opportunities through legislation like the DREAM Act

Check back regularly for updates on immigration reform and its impacts on Las Vegas and Reno families, and contact us with immigration questions.

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