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April 18, 2024 6:54 am

Local News

NV experts, leaders weigh in on immigration this election cycle

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Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service

As members of Congress and presidential candidates battle it out over immigration, a group of Nevada leaders and experts dedicated to advancing immigration reform is discussing the complexities and challenges of the topic – and trying to focus on actionable solutions.

Zach Mueller, political director of the nonprofit America’s Voice, warned Nevada voters that during the upcoming election cycle, he suspects there will be lots of mis- and disinformation about immigrants and immigration.

“But many times, the folks that are perpetuating that kind of disinformation are not actually just talking about immigrants, not just talking about immigration policy,” he said, “but it is a mechanism and a tool to try to divide around concerns around safety, around concerns around identity, concerns around scarcity.”

Mueller said it’s OK to disagree on what the appropriate policy for immigration might be, but he encouraged officeholders and candidates on both sides of the aisle to use their words wisely and not incite political violence.

According to a recent poll, 42% of Americans, including 72% of Republicans, say they feel the United States is “too open” and America runs the risk of “losing its identity.”

State Sen. Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, said he feels it’s important to not only engage and empower minority and immigrant voters this election, but also to encourage policymakers to continue to champion what he called “pro-immigrant” legislation, even if it doesn’t pass.

“As much as you hear that horrible rhetoric, that racist rhetoric that we know might not go anywhere, but that’s what we’re hearing, where’s the other side of that coin? Even if we fear that we’re not going to move the legislation, propose it constantly,” he said, “so that the rhetoric is, ‘There’s people here that are consistently trying to move, just – even if it’s just a millimeter.'”

Almost 20% of Nevada’s population is foreign born, according to the American Immigration Council. It includes more than 300,000 immigrants who are eligible to vote – a figure that is expected to rise in the next decade.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.