Ahead of Nevada Caucus, Roundtable Participants Urge Better Immigration Conversation

February 22, 2016

LAS VEGAS — A day ahead of the Republican caucus, local leaders gathered at a roundtable in Las Vegas this morning to encourage a better immigration conversation.

Participants emphasized the positive impact of immigrants in the Silver State and highlighted the need for broad immigration reform.

“I believe in immigration reform and it is something that America needs. It will help our country as a whole and support our economy,” said Pasqual Urrabazo, a pastor at the International Church of Las Vegas, which hosted the event. “Our history is supported by immigrants and immigration. We need to secure our border and have a path to citizenship.

“As a pastor, I think the current dialogue in the primaries about immigrants are out of line. We need truth. No one should have supported the idea that all immigrants are murders and thieves. We need to recognize and share the blessing immigrants have been and will continue to be to our nation.”

“My congregation is filled with good people, good students who need their dreams supported,” said Estuardo Escobar, pastor of Adonai International Church. “I want to not only help support them but work with other community members to change our immigration laws.”

“My hope for immigrants here in Las Vegas is to help support the future of immigrants who pay taxes, have jobs, share our values, and who want to help join the fight for their individual future and our collective future,” said Community Leader Alma Arellano.

“My heart is for the Hispanic community to become homeowners and live a part of the American dream,” said realtor Tony Meraz. “Right now it is really hard. At one point an ITIN number was enough but after the recession things became increasingly challenging. We need to change the rules and find ways to support their hard work through home ownership.”

Ron Steslow, a former pastor and a bus driver for the Clark County School District, said, “America needs a compassionate, intelligent response to migrating people who live every day supporting a community and country they love. America has been and continues to be built on the hard work, dedication and dreams of immigrants. Why would we stop that vitality?”

“It is great to see the faith community come together to reject mass deportation and support commonsense immigration reform like fixing our legal immigration system, and creating a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented community,” said Catherine Lyons, Southern California Director of FWD.us, who also participated. “We are proud to have the support of influential faith and business leaders in the Las Vegas community who know the stakes of this election and understand the importance of commonsense immigration reform for our country.”

“People in Nevada and across the country recognize the positive impact that immigrants have on their lives and communities,” said Adam Estle, Field Director of the National Immigration Forum. “These are good, hardworking people who are beneficial to American society and economy. We cannot let fear determine our actions, but must instead move forward with compassion and understanding to achieve immigration reform.”

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Bibles, Badges and Business is a project of the National Immigration Forum and the National Immigration Forum Action Fund.