By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, PHILADELPHIA, PA, Mon. July 25, 2016: In a bid to shore up the immigrant voting bloc for the November 9th Presidential election, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have handed two undocumented Latin American immigrants prime time speaking slots on opening night of the Democratic Convention, which gets underway in Philadelphia tonight.
A Latin-American immigrant who came to the U.S. with her parents as a four-year-old child and lived mostly in the shadows as an undocumented immigrant and undocumented immigrant and a Nevada resident who lives in fear of deportation, will be among the speakers tonight, July 25, 2016.
Astrid Silva, 28, who has became famous for her advocacy on behalf of other DREAMers, those undocumented children brought into the U.S. as children and who grew up here, and Francisca Ortiz will make their speaking debut at the convention to make the case for immigration reform in the U.S. and hopefully bring out the immigrant votes for the Clinton-Tim Kaine ticket in November.
“I’ve always called myself a Nevadan, and to be there representing our state, it’s a great honor,” Silva said. “It’s a really big responsibility. I hope I’m able to represent our state.”
Silva once could not attain a driver’s license or even go to college outside of her adopted home state of Nevada. But after missing her grandmother’s funeral in Mexico due to fear of being caught by authorities, she began to campaign for radical changes in the immigration system that would be needed to allow her family to seek US citizenship
Silva came to national fame when she was mentioned by President Obama in his speech when announcing his executive actions on the “broken” immigration system in 2014.
She taught herself how to speak English; got good grades and had hopes of getting a college degree. “Still, she mostly lived in the shadows,” Obama said during his national address in November 2014.
Silva is now a college graduate three times over and is the poster child for the immigration reform movement in Las Vegas. Over the past few years, she has risen to prominence as an immigration reform advocate. Silva is an organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and won the American Immigration Council’s Immigrant Youth Achievement Award.
Silva’s father, Cesar Carlos, remains at threat of deportation. A landscape gardener who moved to the US from Mexico illegally in 1989 he has been arrested and threatened with deportation multiple times.
Latin American immigrant Francisca Ortiz will also speak Monday night with her American-born daughter Karla. Clinton met Francisca and Karla while campaigning in Nevada and they were featured in a Clinton ad, ‘Brave,’ according to the DNC site. The Ortiz’ will talk about their experience with immigration.
Meanwhile, Cesar Vargas, another Mexican immigrant, was chosen for the party’s policy platform committee while Bolivian-born Hareth Andrade, 23, an undocumented immigrant, was approved under a deferred action program, was picked for the credentials committee. The positions are unpaid, officials said.
Clinton already has overwhelming support from immigrant and black voters. Some 70 percent back her, compared with 9 percent for Trump, according to recent Reuters/Ipsos polling, suggesting that she could have a strong chance in states like Florida, Nevada and Colorado that swing between voting Democratic and Republican in presidential elections.
“Our nation is a nation of immigrants that believes in being inclusive, and that’s exactly what we will continue to work toward,” said Leah Daughtry, the chief executive officer of the committee organizing the July 25-28 convention in Philadelphia.