Thursday, April 11, 2013 | 3:30 p.m.
Immigration rally in D.C.: Thousands of supporters of immigration reform gathered Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and sister rallies were staged in cities across the country.
The events were part of a national day of action to spur lawmakers to tackle an immigration reform package. Different proposals in the House of Representatives and Senate are currently in the works by bipartisan groups in each chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is featured in a video put out by Senate Democrats on the day of the rally and titled "Immigration Reform Should Be Personal For Everyone."
"The personal stories I've heard from people in Nevada are tear-jerkers," Reid says in the video. "We have to change the system. That's why I'm so happy the people are here demonstrating to improve America. That's what this is all about."
The video also features Rafael Lopez, a Las Vegas resident and recipient of a work permit through the deferred action for childhood arrivals program. The Sun wrote about Lopez last year.
Cortez Masto, other attorneys general, support reform: This week Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto signed a letter to federal lawmakers imploring them to pass an immigration reform package. The letter was also signed by 34 other attorneys general from various states and U.S. territories.
The April 9 letter, which was addressed to Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., advocates for an approach that addresses border security, the needs of businesses and allowing families to remain together. Copies of the letter also were sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
"We believe that maintaining the safety and security of the United States is the utmost priority. Our immigration system must ensure the protection of our communities and the integrity of our national borders. We support a law enforcement strategy that focuses on public safety, targets serious crime, safeguards witnesses and victims, and considers national security implications for porous borders," the letter states.
While the letter mentions immigrants in the country without a legal residency status, the missive notably does not mention a pathway to citizenship.
"Our immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize keeping families together in order to ensure the most supportive home environment for all the children across our country," the letter states. "Our immigration policies must provide a sensible means to deal with the immigrants who are currently in the country without legal status but are of good character, pay taxes and are committed to continuing to contribute to our society."
Groups organizing for May 1 march: On May 1, 2006, thousands of people protesting for immigration reform closed down the Strip, but subsequent immigration reform marches have not been nearly as well attended.
On Wednesday, a coalition of labor, community and immigrants rights groups announced plans for the 2013 march and stated its goal is to "mobilize thousands" on May 1.
The groups are advocating for an immigration reform package based on three principles: provisions to keep families together, protections for the rights of immigrant workers and a pathway to citizenship.
"We all want a comprehensive reform package that allows for a pathway to citizenship, that protects families, and that makes sure every person has a voice in the process," said Yvanna Cancela of Culinary Union Local 226. "And we are not going to stop until we get it."
The coalition includes representatives from the Nevada State AFL-CIO, Culinary Union Local 226, Laborer's Union Local 872, Painter's Union District 15, United Steelworkers of Nevada, Mi Familia Vota, Nevada Alliance of Retired Americans, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, DREAM Big Vegas, National Council of La Raza, Si Se Puede, Madres por la Justicia, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, NAFFAA, Yo Soy 132, Consejo Latino, El Concilio Hispano, MEChA de UNLV, Hispanics in Politics and Federacion de los Michoacanas among others.