LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Thousands of immigrants and advocates are at the Westgate in Las Vegas for the nation’s largest immigration conference. The four-day National Immigration Conference is expected to cover healthcare, the economy, solidarity, and immigration.
For Lisa Salinas, an immigrant now living in Pennsylvania, the conference is a way for her to help more migrants achieve the American dream.
“it’s a big deal,” said Salinas. “We are all gathered here working on getting the same goal, which is getting everyone heard and let everyone have a voice and know they have rights.”
The conference was all virtual last year. This year, organizers expect more than 3,500 people online and in person.
“Our field is expanding and so diverse,” said Nicole Melaku, the executive director of the National Partnership for New Americans, which puts on the conference. “We have crisis after crisis that keep ending our progress, like the situation at the southern border.”
President Joe Biden sent a virtual message of encouragement.
“I strongly supporter ‘Dreamers,’ TPS recipients, and farmworkers,” said Biden. “(They) await a pathway for permanent residence and citizenship they all deserve.”
Advocates say the pandemic had a major impact on immigrants, but nine months into the Biden Administration, there is new hope for new policies for the immigrant population.
“Whether they worked at the grocery stores or in the fields to provide food for our table or healthcare, we were there for us,” said Melaku. “We ask that the U.S. be there for us and have a path to legalization.