Las Vegas – When a diverse audience gathered this week in an association of university students, stories were shared about seeking refuge in the United States or living in homes that were a mix of US citizens and people residing in the country without legal authorization. They hoped to share their experiences with presidential candidates seeking support before Saturday’s caucus in Nevada.
But only one White House candidate showed up: Tom Steyer, a billionaire with little chance. Most of the other campaigns sent alternates to the event sponsored by Amnesty International, while the candidates themselves appeared on cable television channels or campaigned in other states.
The caucus marks the first time in this season of primary elections that the Democratic race comes to a state with a significant population belonging to minorities. Approximately one fifth of Nevada residents are immigrants, so President Donald Trump’s hardline stance on immigration has turned the issue into a stone of cultural and political touch.RELATED
However, by avoiding forums like this one at the College of Southern Nevada, the candidates left the residents with the impression that Democrats do not want to talk about immigration, even though they go after their votes.
“This is an issue that we know that Donald Trump has absolutely turned into a weapon to expand his base and that he has been using against every person of color,” said Lorella Praeli, a prominent collaborator and Democratic activist who served as director of Hispanic extension of the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. “I am enraged that the candidates and the media are operating in another world where none of these things is happening.”
Activists complain that few questions about immigration have been raised in several of the nine Democratic debates, and they were upset after the issue was addressed in a single question on Wednesday night in the face-to-face debate in Las Vegas. Democratic candidates have also been cautious about going into too much detail on a subject that has become a political minefield.
Many of the Democratic candidates in charge of the race have a background on the issue, a reflection of the way in which immigration policies have changed over the past two decades. Republicans and Democrats struggled to balance law enforcement and decent treatment of immigrants. But since 2012, Republicans have bet on their positions in favor of the enforcement of immigration laws and deportations of immigrants, while Democrats have focused on combating deportations and ensuring humane treatment.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is regularly approached by activists protesting the high deportation rate under the government of then President Barack Obama, including one on Thursday night who said he would not feel safe if he wins the presidency.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders helped overturn a bipartisan immigration bill in 2007 by joining a group of liberals who compared their temporary work clauses with “slave labor.”
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar came to push for a proposal that would make English the official language of the United States, and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg supported a police program that focused on Hispanics and African Americans in constant random reviews. .