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Immigration advocates rally in Las Vegas, push for legislation

Updated September 29, 2020 - 7:27 am

Miguel Barahona is one of more than 400,000 immigrants in the U.S. whose legal status is in jeopardy.

The Las Vegas resident has been living in the United States under temporary protected status for 25 years. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a 2018 injunction that prevented the Department of Homeland Security from terminating the temporary protected status, or TPS, program for those from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.

The reversal allows the Trump administration to end protections for people like Barahona, who is from El Salvador.

“We, the TPS holder and all the immigrants, are usually people who hold two jobs, pay taxes and we work hard with our own sweat,” Barahona said through a translator at a demonstration Monday outside the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas to a gathering of about 50 people. “I want to send a message to anyone who is watching on Facebook Live or any media that is here: We the immigrants need your help; we need help from everybody in power right now.”

Barahona also asked legislators to pass the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would cancel removal proceedings on immigrants who qualify for TPS and would grant permanent residency to those who pass background checks. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives but not voted on in the Senate.

“I just want to call out everyone to vote on this legislation that is the only thing that is going to give us a permanent residency,” Barahona said. “We’re going to give it all we got.”

In an interview, Barahona said he will be traveling to Houston to fight for others affected by the ruling as part of the National TPS Alliance’s “On the Road to Justice” bus tour.

The tour officially started Sept. 21 in Los Angeles and will make its way through 32 states until it gets to Washington D.C., in November, according to organizer Erik Villalobos.

There are currently 20 people on the school bus to ensure social distancing, Villalobos said.

Marilyn Miranda, 10, is one of the youngest people on the tour and said she was fighting to keep her mother, who is a TPS holder, in the country.

Marilyn, of Washington, D.C., told the crowd Monday that she wouldn’t know what to do if her mother was forced to leave the country.

“I would go into the foster system, I think,” she said. “I just want to tell everyone over 18 to vote because of all the families being separated.”

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

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