Las Vegas, NV – Yesterday in East Las Vegas, hours before Donald Trump’s hardline immigration speech where he recommitted to mass deportation, Nevada Democrats set the record straight on Donald Trump’s divisive and hateful proposals to forcibly remove millions of immigrants from this country and rip families apart.
KSNV Las Vegas: Trump goes to Mexico; Local Democrats not impressed
At the same time, at a Las Vegas Strip Mall 17 hundred miles away, “I got to Las Vegas 13 years ago,” said 28-year-old Raul Ravelo, a young illegal immigrant shielded from deportation by the President’s deferred action, or “DACA” for short.
I asked Ravelo if Trump’s “summit” with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would change his mind about Trump, or Mexico’s.
“I think he’s just wasting his time,” Ravelo said of Trump. “The first impression that he had for us – it won’t go away. People won’t forget about that.”
What people may not forget would be some of the more incendiary languages Trump used – rapists, criminals – to describe some Mexicans who cross the border. Certainly not local Democrats, who say Trump’s immigration “reset” is no reset at all.
“Look, regardless of any political stunt of Donald trump, he is going to continue to take the same stands against immigrants, against the Latino community,” says State Senator Ruben Kihuen, running to unseat Republican Congressman Cresent Hardy in the 4th District.
“Most immigrants that I know, like my family, we come to this country, we worked hard, we sacrificed, we play by the rules, we stay out of trouble,” Kihuen told me. “We contribute to this society in a very positive manner.”
Wednesday was Trump’s effort to look presidential on a world stage, meeting with a head-of-state over a delicate set of issues. Trump used a speech Wednesday evening in Phoenix to add clarity to his stand on immigration in an effort to appeal to the swing vote.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said, “Hillary Clinton will leave our borders wide open, jeopardizing the economic, and personal security of Nevadans and award amnesty to those who have broken our laws,” according to Charles Munoz, who runs Trump’s Nevada campaign.
Kihuen disagrees. “If you look at her plan, yes it requires people standing in the back of the line, learning English, paying back taxes, going through a background check. It includes border protection. That is not amnesty,” Kihuen said.
Trump’s trip was an effort to display a dialogue with Mexico. Standing next to that country’s President, he spoke highly of Mexican-Americans. He has also said he has support among Latinos, his stands on immigration notwithstanding. On Friday, Trump, in Las Vegas, held an unannounced meeting with local Hispanic business and civic leaders.
“I don’t think Donald Trump and Donald Trump’s campaign realize this,” Assemblyman Nelson Araujo told me. “The support has to come from the ground and from the folks that work day-in and day-out, working class families,” the Democrat said. “The families I talk to every day are not supporting Donald Trump and, in fact, are getting ready to not just register to vote but prepare their family to go out and cast their ballot against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton,” said Araujo.
For Ravelo, this election has consequences.
“I’m a “DACA” recipient. So if he wins, I probably lose my protection from that DACA,” Ravelo told me.
So, an important day, for a candidate.
And for a young man…wondering what will happen next.
Telemundo Las Vegas: Democrats push back on Trump immigration speech
“He has made demeaning, degrading and deporting immigrants the cornerstone of his campaign,” said Raul Ravelo, a 13-year Las Vegas resident and UNLV graduate who was born in Mexico City. “It’s very disheartening.”
While Trump visited Mexico City, leading members of the Nevada State Democratic Party expressed their criticism during an afternoon rally in east Las Vegas Nevada State Sen. Ruben Kihuen, Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, Asian American Pacific Islander community leader Rozita Lee and Ravelo — a local DREAMer — spoke out against what they called “divisive rhetoric.”
“No matter what he says in Mexico City and in Arizona, his immigration plan to forcibly remove 11 million people from our country will be the same,” Kihuen said. “This is a publicity stunt.”
Kihuen told Latino voters in Spanish that Trump posed a threat to deferred action programs, which provides leniency for immigrants that arrived in the U.S. before 2010 to legally reside and seek employment.
Lee, a 37-year Las Vegas resident born to Filipino parents, argued immigrants excluded by Trump’s policies were not just limited to Hispanics. She pointed out Asian immigrants represented nearly one-fourth of all people to move to the United States last year.
“They’re going through their own challenges, but they’re affected just as much by Donald Trump,” Lee said. “What’s next, building walls on the ocean, to prevent Filipinos and from coming to the United States?”