Reform Advocates in Las Vegas Rally for New Immigration Laws

Unauthorized immigrants, lawful permanent residents, and U.S. citizens rallied in Las Vegas, Nevada last weekend to demonstrate their support for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws. Joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and other leaders, the rally’s organizers drew over 6,000 people in the largest of seven rallies held across the nation last Saturday.

The rally, organized by Southern Nevada Director Michael Flores of Reform Immigration FOR America, was also attended by dozens of supporters from Reno and elsewhere in Northern Nevada who came by bus under the direction of Northern Nevada Director Mario dela Rosa.

Las Vegas is an appropriate venue for such a rally, as the area has a large immigrant community — composed not only of the unauthorized immigrants who work in some of its casinos, restaurants, and other jobs, but also including many immigrants authorized to work who enter the United States on P, O, and other “extraordinary ability” visas to perform for toursits. Also, Las Vegas is one of the few bastions of organized labor remaining in the country, with the Culinary Union representing many of the hotel and restaurant workers. Organized labor has been an important ally in the fight for immigration reform.

The upshot of the rally is that politics will be at least as important as policy. Senator Reid claimed that he already has 56 “yes” votes in the Senate for some kind of immigration reform measure, but that he still needs to round up a handful of Republican votes. Since President Obama took office in 2009, the meaning of a “majority” in the Senate has changed from the mathematical 51 out of 100 to a difficult-to-attain 60, which represents enough votes to block a procedural delay called a fillibuster.

And so, as with healthcare reform, advocates for change will have to begin courting stubborn lawmakers from the Republican side of the aisle. The task may be easier because of the strength of the Latino vote, but those who want reform have to recognize that it will not come easily. To do your part and get involved, you can visit Reform Immigration FOR America’s website. You can also contact our immigration law offices in Reno or Las Vegas for a free consultation and advice on whether or not you should wait for possible immigration reform to change your immigration status.

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