Our families are under attack here in Nevada and across the country. They’re under attack from Republicans like Congressman Joe Heck, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and their standard-bearer, Donald Trump. These Republicans want to separate our families, take away our birthright as Americans citizens born in the United States and deport hardworking men, women and their children who have built lives in America and contribute to our country every single day. These same Republicans praised Arizona’s anti-immigrant “show your papers” law and publicly opposed the Senate immigration reform bill and the DREAM Act.
In Nevada, Congressman Joe Heck has a history of voting against our community. He has fabricated lies that do not match his voting record in Congress. Congressman Heck is telling our community that he supports DREAMers and wants to fix America’s broken immigration system. Don’t let his words fool you. The Congressman has voted four times to deport DREAMers and backed an amendment by the racist, anti-immigrant Congressman Steve King that would speed-up deportations of undocumented youths. Most recently, when confronted with his anti-immigrant and anti-Latino votes in Congress, Congressman Heck claimed his efforts to fix America’s broken immigration system fell apart because activists collaborating with him were more concerned about making immigration reform a “political issue.” Throughout his three-terms in Congress, Joe Heck has ignored Nevada’s Latino community, showing us his back whenever we have turned to him for leadership on issues we care about.
In Spanish, we have a saying - dime con quién andas y te diré quien eres – that tells us clearly who Congressman Joe Heck really is. In defending our families, who does Joe Heck stand with? Oil barons David and Charles Koch have quietly funded a vast network of organizations that support and advance a Republican agenda that threatens our community. In fact, one of those organizations, the LIBRE Initiative, targets Latino voters in states like Nevada with deceptive advertisements meant to convince us that the agenda they share with Congressman Joe Heck and Donald Trump is in the best interest of Latino voters. LIBRE and the Kochs support Republican candidates, like Congressman Heck, who oppose the DREAM Act and vote to break up our families and deport DREAMers. Congressman Heck and the Koch Brothers opposed the 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill and praised the politically motivated Republican lawsuit against President Obama’s executive actions. The LIBRE Initiative and other Koch backed groups are working tirelessly to put forward an agenda in Congress and here in Nevada that is against immigrants, workers, women and the environment. One of their top goals is to elect like-minded politicians like Joe Heck. We can’t trust them. Congressman Joe Heck is not our friend.
Nevada has a better choice in this election. Catherine Cortez Masto is a true leader who has stood up for the Latino community here in Nevada, protected us and proven that she will not back down in her commitment to Nevada families. Catherine Cortez Masto has a strong reputation in offering real solutions on issues that matter to Nevadans, not wealthy billionaires and interest groups. Catherine has fought tirelessly for hardworking families, workers and Latinos.
Catherine’s career in public service and the law is one of commitment to disadvantaged communities and to ensuring that every Nevadan has an opportunity to succeed, regardless of where they come from. As a two-term Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine prosecuted criminals and unethical businesses that committed Notario Fraud and cracked down on unlicensed medical providers who targeted vulnerable immigrants and undocumented workers. Catherine fought for grants for victims of sexual and domestic violence so they received assistance when petitioning for U-Visas. Catherine supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. She will be a strong advocate in the United States Senate to continue to protect the 12,000 DREAMers in Nevada, and the more than 800,000 across the United States from racist, anti-immigrant politicians like Congressman Steve King. She will also help our future President Hillary Clinton pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Catherine will fight for our communities because she understands that immigration reform is critical, that it impacts the lives of thousands in Nevada, inside and outside of the Latino community and that it is more than just a talking point in an election campaign. Catherine understands what it means to families, targeted as scapegoats by racist politicians like Donald Trump, that they have a voice for them in the halls of Congress: a voice that will confront the challenges we face as a community and challenge the divisive attacks Donald Trump has led against our nation.
Catherine knows that immigrant families are American families. She understands that we must eliminate the barriers these families face. Our undocumented people here in Nevada, and across the nation, are family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers and fellow congregants in our church pews. Catherine knows these families and she knows the impact undocumented families and workers have in shaping Nevada’s communities, schools, economy and culture through their devotion to family and love of America. Unlike Donald Trump and Congressman Heck, Catherine is willing to be there for us every day, not just election day. She knows that her actions have a real impact on the lives of millions of hardworking families.
Catherine is an outstanding public servant with a humble understanding that the work ahead of us will not be easy but that we can achieve a better future for our families and build a better vision for the future of Nevada together. In the race to succeed Senator Harry Reid, one of the greatest allies our community has had in the Congress, there is no one better qualified to take on the mantle to fight for and strengthen our Latino families and community than Catherine Cortez Masto. The records are in front of us and the choice could not be clearer: Catherine Cortez Masto must be elected to the United States Senate. Latino communities right here in Nevada can and must work to send her to the United States Senate.
Our role in this election is historic. Latino votes will be decisive in delivering Nevada from the hands of the falsehoods of LIBRE, Congressman Joe Heck and Donald Trump. That is why tomorrow I will proudly stand next to Catherine in beautiful Las Vegas as we launch Latinos for Catherine Cortez Masto. Latino families in Nevada have and must take the opportunity to make history twice – by electing Nevada’s first woman Senator – and by breaking a glass ceiling as old as our Republic – electing the first Latina to the United States Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto.
Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.