Nevada groups host vigils, rally for citizenship path for immigrants

Nevada groups host vigils, rally for citizenship path for immigrants
A mariachi brand entertains at the vigil on immigration reform Tuesday night in Las Vegas. (PLAN)

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service

LAS VEGAS – Immigrants’ rights groups are rallying all this week to get a path to citizenship into the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, which could get a vote in the next few days.

Advocates want Nevada’s two senators to pressure Vice President Kamala Harris to ignore the Senate Parliamentarian’s ruling, which said a pathway to citizenship is not a suitable addition to a reconciliation bill.

Erika Castro, organizing director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, known as PLAN, thinks the United States should welcome longtime undocumented farmworkers and essential workers, as well as people who have DACA or Temporary Protected Status.

“So, this would actually allow us to live without the fear of deportation, be able to get better paying jobs, continue their education, and simply be able to raise their families with dignity and respect,” she said.

The events are organized by the Undocu-council, which is part of the Nevada Immigrant Coalition, along with the groups PLAN, Make the Road Nevada and Mi Familia Vota. They held a vigil Tuesday night at the federal courthouse in Las Vegas. Their “week of action” includes vigils tonight and at 6 p.m. Thursday, plus a full protest rally at 5 p.m. Friday in the same location.

Castro says ‘Plan B’ would be to ask that the bill change the so-called “registry date” to 2010. This would allow undocumented people who arrived in the United States before 2010 to apply for a green card.

“Estimates are showing that if we were able to adjust the registry date,” she said, “that would actually help between 5 million and 8 million people.”

Castro added that a third potential solution would be to provide a parole system for immigrants in the reconciliation bill, but not a pathway to citizenship.