On May 27, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevadav (PLAN), an Alliance for a Just Society affiliate, hosted U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez at their “Familias Unidas” summit on immigration issues. Gutierrez delivered the event’s keynote speech, speaking alongside community members who shared their personal stories of how the current immigration system separates families and closes the door on young people who want to pursue higher education.
There is no shortage of stories bout how the U.S. immigration system rips apart families and communities in Nevada and across the country. PLAN members Luz and Santos Villagrama spoke about the brother, who is currently being deported, and the painful impact it is having on their family. Carla, speaking on behalf of DREAM students, talked about her friends who are graduating from college and looking for work, but unable to work because of they lacked documentation.
Following these statements, Rep. Gutierrez addressed the crowd of 200, emphasizing how President Obama has the discretionary power to stop dividing families. Gutierrez said that 400,000 people are being deported each year and that this must stop. Deporting people, he continued, is not the right solution under the current economic environment. Gutierrez also spoke about the growing political power of the Latino community. Each year, 500,000 young Latinos turn 18 years old of age and become eligible to vote. If the Obama administration doesn’t stop deporting families, Gutierrez warned, there will be political repercussions.
Gutierrez’s encouraged people to focus less on political parties and affiliations. What is truly at stake, he told them, is not parties, but families. He called on people to stand up and push the President to do what is right – to stop deportations and stop the disruption of the lives of hard working students and families.