by Carlos Vargas | October 16, 2012

Las Vegas, NV– After hearing Dean Heller’s remarks about DREAM Act eligible youth in his second debate against his opponent Shelley Berkley, where he referred to DREAMers as “these people”, undocumented youth confronted him Monday night as he walked into his third debate. Instead of taking the time to talk to the youth, hear their stories and learn about the issue, Heller ignored them and quickly walked away from them.

“These people” happen to be talented and hardworking individuals who were brought to this country at a very early age, and who are supported by 91 percent of the Latino community nationally, which also makes up 27 percent of Nevada’s population. This is not the first time Heller has gone against this group of young people. He has previously called the DREAM Act a “back door” amnesty, which has been proved time and time again to be the exact opposite and would instead boost the Nevada’s economy by $5,036,000,000 around 2030 if it was passed immediately.

Approximately 20 DREAMers and Latino voters stood in front of the debate studio picketing against Heller’s comments and his position. As Heller tried to enter the studio, the activists from Dream Big Vegas shouted: “Education not deportation.” But despite the pressure, Heller stood by his previous position.

“Not only am I offended by the way in which the candidate referred to me and my family, as “these people”, but I also felt disappointed at his actions. Running away from us proves that his not interested in confronting one of the most important issues to the Latino community. My family and friends who can vote do care about the DREAM Act and will make a difference at the polls when they cast their ballot.” said Astrid Silva. Astrid is a DREAMer and leader in Nevada who led the confrontation Monday night.

As the elections approach, pro-immigrant groups and the majority of the Latino community in Nevada will pay closer attention to what candidates have to say about immigration, but most importantly what they have done. Dean Heller already has a record of voting no on the DREAM Act in 2010, and there is nothing better that can be expected from him as a Tea Party Republican, if he was to become a senator, when it comes to fixing the broken immigration system and giving hard working individuals a path to citizenship.

DRM Action Coalition is a strong voice committed to the fight for the DREAM Act and the rights of undocumented youth. We are the policy and lobbying arm of the DREAM movement and for those who passionately support the DREAM Act.