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On Sunday, May 1st, Make the Road Nevada, CHISPA, the Culinary Union Local 226, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, members, and allies marched down the Las Vegas strip for immigrant workers, union labor, and for a pathway to citizenship. 

The member-led march accumulated about 100 attendees who started at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino’s fountains. We made our way through the influx of tourists and passersby in ‘Immigrants Are Essential’ shirts. Attendees also carried posters that read “Nothing Less Than Citizenship,” and “President Biden, Keep Your Promise,” in our beaming yellow and blue.

Our Immigration Justice Organizer, Rico Ocampo led the group alongside chant leaders: our Environmental Justice Organizer, Jose Rivera and our member leader, Edgardo. Collectively chanting: 

El pueblo unido, Jamas sera vencido The people united, Will never be defeated

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What do we want?, Citizenship When do we want it?, Now! Que Queremos? , Ciudadanía Cuando?, Ahora!

And more. As we finally approached the New York-New York Hotel & Casino’s Statue of Liberty, we circled around the statue as our MCs, Economic Justice Organizer, Abe Lugo and member leader, Fary took the mic to introduce the evening’s speakers. 

“In today’s program, you will hear the stories of workers, children of immigrants, and people directly affected by immigration policy,” said Lugo. 

 

Lugo and Fary welcomed Medinah Yusufzai, a first-generation Afghan American daughter of two Afghan refugees who escaped Afghanistan during the Soviet Union invasion and immigrated to the United States. They also welcomed Febe Rodriguez, a Culinary Union Local 226 member who was once undocumented by now uses her citizenship status to advocate for union labor laws and advocate by those directly impacted by immigration injustices. More speakers shared their stories, as well. 

Thank you to all those who attended the May Day and made this happen. A huge thank you to CHISPA, the Culinary Union Local 226, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and your members.  

Thank you to Artkore for printing our materials, including our shirts, posters, banners, and flyers. 

And special thank you to each and everyone of our members for this powerful, member-led march. 

 

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Between February 28th and March 3rd, Make the Road Nevada visited Washington D.C. to take part in two rallies and to speak with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s and Representative Steven Horsford’s teams on immigration reform. Five MRNV members joined Rico Ocampo (Immigrant Justice Organizer), Itzel Hernandez (Health Equity Organizer), and Crystal Lugo (Digital Organizer) on the four-day trip, which began with the State of Our Lives rally on Monday. 

Hundreds united outside the White House on the eve of President Biden’s State of the Union Address, demanding Biden to keep his pre-presidential promises on immigration reform. Speakers across various organizations expressed their frustrations with the unkept promises—all feeling collectively cheated and disillusioned by the president.  The attendees urged the 46th president to grant citizenship to the 11 million undocumented people in the United States, and also demanded him to deliver solutions on healthcare and climate matters.

 

“Biden, shine light on those who have been forced into the shadows; shine light on our people and give us a permanent solution: citizenship,” shared MRNV member leader, Areli. 

“Biden, act on what we put you in office for,” shared Northern Nevada MRNV member leader, Edurne. 

On Wednesday, March 2nd, MRNV staff and members met with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s team to discuss her stance on immigration reform and ask for her support. MRNV members, Jose, Ben, and Amparo shared their stories with the senator’s team for the first time. MRNV member and Nevada teacher, Ben joined MRNV in alliance after witnessing his undocumented students struggle internally and externally due to their undocumented status. 

“School is already stressful enough,” shared Ben with the senator’s team. “Being undocumented in this country adds unnecessary stress onto them.” 

MRNV member leader and DACA recipient, Jose shared his story with Cortez Masto’s team and explained his disappointment over not feeling fully accepted by the only country he has ever called home. 

“I’m tired of living a temporary life,” said Jose. “I’m not asking for a handout—all I’m asking for is a pathway to citizenship.” 

MRNV member, Amparo shared her story about being an undocumented mother of three, circled by limitations and little-to-no support from the United States due to her status. 

“I’m here in front of you expressing my stress,” shared Amparo. “I’m asking you to listen to us and put your hand on your hearts—be in community with us.”

On March 3rd, MRNV joined organizations outside the ICE building for the Communities Not Cages rally. The attendees chanted for change—calling Biden out on his adoption of Trump-era anti-immigration policies and demanding for ICE and CBP to be defunded, for detention centers to be shut down, for people to be freed, and for deportations to be stopped. 

MRNV safely returned to Nevada on Thursday night, bringing back new experiences and a stronger fight with them. Thank you for visiting, team! 

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Thank you, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s staff and Representative Steven Horsford’s staff, for speaking to our Nevada members and centering their voices.

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Missed our Washington D.C. trip? Check us out on our Twitter @maketheroadnv to view our Washington tweets, and visit our Instagram @maketheroadnv to view our Washington story highlight!

 

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Make the Road Nevada staff and members visited Washington D.C. Dec. 6 through Dec. 8 to attend the We Can’t-Wait march, press conferences, and meet with Nevada Senators—all to demand the Senate to include a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act. 

Rico Ocampo, our Immigrant Justice Organizer, and Crystal Lugo, our digital organizer, along with Make the Road members Areli Sanchez, an undocumented member, and Edurne Gonzalez, a DACAmented Reno-based member joined Make the Road States and other immigrant advocacy groups on Tuesday’s march. 

The march, which began at Union Station, called for a pathway to citizenship, good care jobs, access to childcare and universal preschool education, paid family leave, green infrastructure, healthcare for all, and affordable housing. Along with thousands, our Nevada family chanted all the way down to Taft Memorial Park, an area next to the United States Capitol. 

Two press conferences were held at Taft Memorial; the first press conference featured many of those directly impacted; they shared their stories and frustrations in front of thousands. Congresspeople like Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Congressman Lou Correa, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley spoke. 

 

At the second press conference, new voices joined to support citizenship in the BBB, including United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, United States Representative Chuy García, and other House Democrats. 

Our very own Areli Sanchez was introduced by Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus; Sanchez shared her story and asked those in power to deliver a pathway to citizenship this holiday season. We are so proud of your outstanding braveness, Areli! 

On Dec. 8, Ocampo, Lugo, Gonzalez, and Sanchez met with Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s staff and directly with Nevada Senator Jacky Rosen to discuss immigration and for members to share their stories. 

“I’m tired of fighting for my family and my community and only getting breadcrumbs,” said Gonzalez to Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s staff. “Effort is not enough—effort alone did not earn me my degree.” Gonzalez is the head of the household and holds a master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Gonzalez also highlighted the need to help all undocumented—not just youth—and support undocumented Latinx women in STEM. Thank you for sharing your story with our Nevada Senators and Make the Road Nevada, Edurne. We admire you immensely. 

The team handed our members’ letters, which were penned during a member meeting, to Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s and Senator Jacky Rosen’s staff, respectively. The letters were written by Argentinian, Columbian, Mexican, and Chinese immigrants urging the Senators to deliver a pathway to citizenship. 

Thank you, Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto’s staff and Senator Jacky Rosen, for speaking to our Nevada members and centering their voices. 

 

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Missed our Washington D.C. trip? Check us out on our Twitter @maketheroadnv to view our Washington tweets, and visit our Instagram @maketheroadnv to view our Washington story highlight!

 

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Three days filled with actions took place in the past few weeks in Washington, DC. Each day was filled with the storytelling of directly impacted folks who have bravely fought for their rights in each of their respective states. Now, we have all joined forces yet again, as we have in years past, to demand a pathway to citizenship for all the 11 million people who currently reside in the United States. Decades of activism and sacrifice have culminated to this very point in history. Our gente are chanting, singing, dancing, and telling their stories in hopes that our elected officials listen to them instead of an unelected position whose opinion is simply that, an opinion. 

 

Our team went to DC and marched and chanted in an effort to have their voices transcend through the walls of the capitol and into the ears of the elected officials whose promises have fallen flat. Our team returned with a sense of anger and empowerment:

 

“It was both empowering and angering to be a part of the movement in the fight for citizenship for all. I saw many others doing the same as me. Walking miles in the sun, holding signs, loudly chanting while dehydrated. But we never gave up.

 

 It was sad because I know the politicians we were directing our chants to, were in an office with air conditioning or at home with their families, feeling secure. 

 

We work so hard to be heard but we’re being ignored right now.” -Kathia Sotelo Calderon, a DACA recipient who came to the states at the young age of just 7 years old. 

 

“Lobbying in Washington D.C. as an undocumented person gave me a sense of assertiveness, a right to have a public existence in a country that does not consider me part of its fabric, at least on paper. I have been living in the United States for 30 years and still do not have status. However, the impact of going to the capital of the United States of America will stay with me forever. 

 

And if in the process, we get something done, it won’t be because the governing powers wanted it, it will be because we organized and forced our government to fulfill our true needs.

 

It takes a lot of courage to come out of the shadows and tell the whole world that you are undocumented, it takes even more courage to get on a plane, travel over 2,000 miles, and demand to members of congress that they render you visible and fulfill their promise of providing citizenship for millions. That is agency.” -Rico Ocampo, a DACA recipient who came to the states at the young age of 3 years old. 

 

The fight won’t stop until our gente have access to a pathway to citizenship! Our people are fighting. Our people have fought for decades. They are true Americans. They are true champions. When the people rise up, the government trembles.

 

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How far have you gone to protect your family? How far would you travel? Who would you face to ensure that your children could spend another day with you?

Well, our gente has traveled miles. They have faced police and entire administrations to defend themselves and to fight for their neighbors. They have braved an entire country that criminalizes and dehumanizes them and their experiences to provide for their families on a daily basis. After so long, they continue. They continue to fight. They continue to raise their voices. They refuse to be defeated. 

This week the Parliamentarian ruled against creating a pathway to citizenship. With this ruling folks all over the political process believe that the fight for citizenship is over, but our gente does not take no for an answer. Our gente is taking to the streets of DC this week to welcome back congress after their recess. Their welcome consists of marches outside the capitol and around DC. Chants are ricocheting from the walls and windows of the capital city because our people can’t wait another year.  Our people are uniting across the country to fight for each other. To fight for security. To fight for their right to live a life of dignity and with respect. 

From Nevada, Rico, Lalo, Areli, and Marvin are joining their voices to the call for our elected officials to develop a new plan in which millions of people in the states have a path to citizenship.

Rico, a DACA recipient, a father, a husband, a friend, has dedicated his life to the cause, to organizing his community into participating in the political process to ensure that the political process truly reflects the interests of the people.

Lalo, a DACA recipient, a father, a friend, a partner, works day in and day out to ensure that his community has access to fair housing conditions and is treated fairly by their landlords while also fighting to educate the community on their rights.

Arieli, a mother, a partner, an immigrant, came to the states in search of safety. Her search for safety led her to a space where she can use her story and her voice to educate others and to advocate for a more inclusive and more secure future for everyone in her community.

Marvin, a friend, a son, an advocate, has used his voice in school board meetings and in demonstrations to advocate for the rights of students and their families. 

These powerful, educated, passionate voices are marching, demonstrating, and like Rep. John Lewis said, ‘getting into good trouble’ in DC. Their voices, their strength is a direct result of the support of the community. Nevada has a very large Latinx population and with that collective strength, they march on. From Nevada, we wish them peace, protection, and good vibes as they march for our rights. In Nevada, we will be cheering them on as they make history during Latinx Heritage Month. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido! Si Se Puede!

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June is Immigrant Heritage Month—it’s important that we acknowledge the value of the immigrant experience and the importance of their contributions to our daily lives. Their stories are filled with strength and sacrifice in hopes of a better future for themselves and their descendants. Immigrants are brave and strong and they, unfortunately, face so many hurdles in pursuit of a better future. These hurdles were made abundantly clear at the start of the pandemic when Immigrants were excluded from federal financial help though they were actively working to maintain this country at a time where most folks could not work. They filled the supermarket shelves and picked the food we ate. As a result of their labor, they showed once again, how essential they are to the very fabric of our country and its functionality. Make the Road NV and our partners worked together to produce a report of how exactly the pandemic was impacting the immigrant community in Nevada and that report is available here

 

Our Immigrant community is actively trying to better this state and this nation to include them in relief now, and to be included in a direct pathway to citizenship. The immigration system is broken, this is no secret, but it is also incredibly difficult to navigate and can be frightening at times for families. In spite of there not being a pathway to citizenship, immigrants are involved members of society who advocate for their community and themselves. They teach others to love themselves and to not be afraid to speak up for themselves. Their stories are incredible. Our website has so many of these stories and we encourage you to take a minute and read them. They will not only bring you joy, but they will inspire you to join the fight for Immigrant Rights. As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, remember their stories, and don’t forget to share yours.

 

Check out our new video in collaboration with PLAN NV.

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DACA has been a frequently visited topic this year, with new changes, developments, and attempts to dismantle it. The constantly change can be confusing and overwhelming. Luckily, Make the Road Nevada is watching closely the status of DACA and is communicating the updates to you in an easy to understand way. With that, there are some updates in relation to DACA: 

  • First-time DACA applications are being accepted
  • Renewals requests are being accepted 
  • Advanced parole returns to its original state and follows its original requirements
  • Renewals return to the two-year renewal period as well as employment authorization

For folks who received their documentation after July 28, 2020, USCIS will provide evidence of the one-year extensions to the DACAmented community. Our sister organization, Make the Road NY, was live on Monday from our Facebook page with helpful information. Watch the video here.

For helpful information on what you may need to apply for DACA, download our DACA resource guide here.

As always if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to amigxs@maketheroadnv.org 

 

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The People Affected

The subject of DACA is more than a piece of legislation, it is more than statistics, it is the stories of our friends and families whose struggle often gets criticized for having come to the states illegally. Those who do not qualify for DACA are left with an unnecessarily more difficult way to achieve citizenship and are excluded from an idea of ‘exceptional undocumented youth’. This idea of exceptionalism comes from the many requirements that a person must meet in order to qualify for the DREAM Act. These requirements include having at least a High School diploma, having no serious convictions, and being of ‘good moral character’. These requirements feed the narrative of the good versus the bad immigrant. These ideas and labels promote division among the immigrant community and create a false perception of the undocumented and documented immigrant community.

Our families and friends have DACA, others don’t, but either way, they are human and are deserving of respect and dignity. Their stories play an important role in the grander immigrant story. 

Audrey lives in Las Vegas and identifies as a DREAMer. For her, like many others, the term brought with it a sense of belonging in a world where she felt as though there was no place for her. Being born in another country and brought to the states as a young child she grew up in the states, lives in the states, has a life in the states, the states and life here are all she knows;

“ I don’t feel like an immigrant, this is my home, this my space, this is my culture, this is all I know, I’m not an immigrant. I don’t know anything else.”Audrey, DREAMer and Make the Road NV’s (MRNV) economic organizer.

For those who do not qualify for DACA, the reality is far more daunting as they have no protections against deportations, are left with a more difficult way to citizenship, have to find jobs willing to pay them in cash, and are oftentimes subject to abuse. Due to their fears of being deported, these abuses sometimes go unreported. This unfortunate reality is lived on a daily basis by many. An MRNV member identifies as undocumented and ‘feels as though there is a target on her back’. The term DREAMer to her reflects a dream that she doesn’t want to be her life. She wants it to be her reality, a path to citizenship, a safe job, a safe place for her family. 

DACAmented folks often are met with questions about their status and are criticized for not being a citizen. These questions may come with positive intentions, however, they produce emotions of frustration and of hopelessness as a result of the difficulty to navigate the immigration system,

“People have been fed an idea that [the immigration system] works and that it is a straight line to citizenship, but it isn’t.” Lalo Montoya, political director of MRNV, member of the DACAmented community.

When asked about what the documented community can do to help the fight for citizenship, Lalo “Be an agent of change with me [ I encourage you] to imagine a country that doesn’t yet exist. Fight with me to make it happen. I need to know that you are gonna shield me from deportation, that you are gonna be a part of the movement, [not] just be a bystander. I’m not asking you to lead [the movement], I’m asking you to [help] fuel it. Reimagine the country as what it should be. Don’t just watch it happen, be a part of it. Don’t feel that you can’t speak up because you are not directly impacted.”

DACA is in no way perfect, but it does alleviate some of the fears that come with being undocumented. Our community deserves to work in a safe environment, earn good wages, have equal access to help, and should be able to live without fear for what may come. Our families are not at fault for the lack of a path to citizenship. This week we want our DACAmented family to know that we hear you, we fight alongside you, and we will stand with you and before you in this fight to citizenship, this path to dignity and respect. Join our fight and consider donating to the DACA fund to help those in our community renew their DACA. 

Call to action for DACAmented community- urge those who can vote to vote, don’t give up, we are with you!

For info on immigrant justice and MRNV please contact us at amigxs@maketheroadnv.org 

To donate to the DACA fund:  http://bit.ly/DonateMRNV  

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A TRUE SOCIAL JUSTICE SPACE

On July 31st, The Youth Power Project (YPP) hosted Gen Z VoiceZ, an open-mic Facebook Live event where youth between 14-21 showcased their talents in an empowering way.

The night featured energetic performances that shared, expressed, and set the tone for the night. The performances varied from singing, dancing, and different variations of poetry.

 

“I am here talking to you today because I am appalled by the countless black lives that have been taken at the hands of police brutality in this country that claims to be equal and free,” said YPP member Amy Chen during her spoken performance. She also mentioned the names and stories of Black Americans killed by U.S. police, including the recent tragic shooting of Breonna Taylor, who was shot 22 times while she was at home sleeping. 

 

The show demonstrated the impact that these terrible events have on our youth and how Generation Z is refusing to sit back and not voice their concerns. The open mic served as an excellent avenue to let their voices resonate in the fight for social justice.

 

Not only was this event fun and informative, but it was a statement about how our youth holds an enormous amount of resilience and power. It was a refreshing experience to see so much hope and positivity. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about YPP or become a member of YPP, please visit our website at: http://bit.ly/MRNVypp

 

Watch the full live event here: https://bit.ly/2DlYPPVOICEZ

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The Supreme Court decided that the current administration’s attempt to dismantle DACA and its protections was unlawful and struck it down. This victory for the DACAmented community has given us hope and drive to continue the fight for a clear road to citizenship. With this decision, renewals are being accepted, however, with this ruling the fees to do so may rise from the current price of $495. Many folks have lost their jobs and thus renewing the DACA of their children may be out of reach. Given this reality, we ask that you consider donating to our LV Dream Fund to help alleviate the pressures of financial hardship felt in these trying circumstances by our DACAmented families. All of the funds will be used to pay for fees related to renewing and applying for DACA.  http://bit.ly/MRNVdonate

 

Make The Road Nevada fights for social justice. We stand with immigrants, the DACAmented, the undocumented, the LGBTQIA+ community, the Black community, and the working class. We stand with every community that faces injustices and we fight for our Nevadan community to become a better, more inclusive, and respectful community. Join us in our fight for equality and justice! Follow us on any of our social platforms.

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