Labor Sec. Pushes Immigration Reform During Las Vegas Stop - 8 News NOW

Labor Sec. Pushes Immigration Reform During Las Vegas Stop

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LAS VEGAS -- Immigration reform has remained stalled in Congress for six months, but Monday the U.S. Secretary of Labor visited Las Vegas to call for Congress to pass the legislation.

From restaurant kitchens to new housing subdivisions to the front of home improvement stores, illegal immigration is nothing new in southern Nevada.

The Pew Hispanic Center found Nevada has the largest percentage of illegal immigrants in the U.S. There is no way to know for sure, but it is estimated about 200,00 illegal immigrants live in Nevada.

This will be the next Congress' big issue, and now both major political parties may be closer to reaching reform. 

In the downtown office of Mi Familia Vota, the largest Latino non-partisan organization in the state of Nevada, immigration is the issue this time of year.

"We hear new stories every day. Our immigration system is broken. We have children, wives, fathers, mothers that are separated from their loved ones, just because our immigration system is broken," deputy campaign coordinator with Mi Familia Vota Rudy Zamora said.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez addressed the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Finishing Industries Forum, which was going on in Las Vegas, about the issue Monday.

"The need for immigration reform here in Nevada and across the nation continues to be very compelling," Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said. 

Secretary Perez talked with 8 News NOW after his remarks at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. 

"The Congressional Budget Office, non-partisan, has indicated that immigration reform, will lead to significant growth in GDP. It will make the social security system more solvent because you have more workers paying taxes. It will help entrepreneurship. It will move 11 million people out of the shadow economy into the mainstream economy," he said.   

Republican State Senator Don Gustavson says Nevada taxpayers should not be responsible for providing the incentives for non-citizens to keep coming here illegally.

He does not want what he considers amnesty for illegal immigrants. 

"I would like to see something done with our immigration issues. Unfortunately, you have leaders in both major parties who allow this to continue to go on," State Sen. Don Gustavson said.

In Nevada, it is estimated roughly 10 percent of the labor force is made up of illegal immigrants.

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