By Astrid Silva, DREAMer from Nevada and inmigration activist
For most Americans, turning sixteen and getting their driver’s license is a rite of passage. For me, turning sixteen was a reality check. I was undocumented and beginning to fully understand that I would not have the same opportunities as my peers. Not only would I not be able to drive down Las Vegas Boulevard with friends, but I wouldn’t be able to attend college with my classmates. It was as if my world was becoming smaller with each day.
But instead of giving up, I decided to take action. Since then, I have I benefited from DACA, which has allowed me to come out of the shadows and work on behalf of others who continue to live in fear of deportation. My work has allowed me to share my story with some of the country’s most influential people.
Less than a month after Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president, her campaign reached out to me and said that she wanted to hear directly from DREAMers about our lives and experiences. So, in the library of Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Hillary listened to us, asked us questions and took notes.
She made a commitment to us that, as President, she would fight for immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship, and if Republicans were unwilling to move, she would defend, implement and renew President Obama’s executive actions and would go further to keep more families together.
Until then, no other candidate had proposed extending the opportunity for Deferred Action beyond individuals already covered by the President’s executive actions. Other candidates attempted to one up her with proposals clearly impossible to achieve in the current political climate.
But I thought it was only fair to let each candidate explain how they planned to keep their promises, so I and a handful of Las Vegas DREAMers met with all of the Democratic candidates and even some Republican ones.
Although it was tempting to fall for what basically amounted to an immigration activist’s wish list, we owed it to our families to support a realistic and achievable approach to fixing our immigration system. Allowing ourselves to be swept up by appealing but ultimately empty promises is a luxury our loved ones cannot afford. Here in Nevada, we understand how the legislative process works, and we prefer real, tangible results over lofty goals that are impossible to reach.
The more we listened to other candidates, the clearer it became that only one candidate understands how to get things done in the face of stubborn Republican obstructionism. That candidate is Hillary Clinton, and that is why I endorse her wholeheartedly.
Much like that day at Rancho High School, Hillary continues to listen to the concerns of those she meets along the campaign trail. After meeting with thousands of Americans from all walks of life, she has developed smart and achievable policy proposals that will strengthen our communities and our country.
From her proposals to reform our criminal justice system and fight opioid addiction to her plan to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and help caregivers, Hillary has shown her ability to provide real solutions to the problems facing everyday Americans. She has a long track record of getting things done on behalf of working class families, expanding health insurance for kids, and brokering deals that keep our country safe.
Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate to tackle the challenges our next President will face, especially when it comes to finally fixing our broken immigration system. I know that I cannot caucus, but as someone who knows all too well what it’s like to live in constant fear of losing one’s family to deportation, I am asking Nevada voters to stand with immigrant families and caucus for Hillary Clinton on February 20th. I stand with Hillary because she stands with the immigrant community.
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