Nevada coalition for immigrant voters rolls out ambitious turnout plan

The young woman standing in front of a cardboard cutout of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said she registered to vote this year to keep her family intact.

Estefani Guillermo, a 20-year-old Las Vegas native, said she was turned off by Trump’s controversial rhetoric regarding immigrants — an anger that the national “Immigrant Voters Win” campaign wants to cultivate for November’s elections.

The campaign’s Nevada coalition formally announced its efforts Tuesday in a conference room at the Culinary Union headquarters. And the group clearly understands it needs to reach immigrant families and voters like Guillermo if they are to succeed in meeting their ambitious voter turnout goals.

Guillermo, who studies dental hygiene at the College of Southern Nevada, is the only person eligible to vote in her family because her parents and an older sister are undocumented. She has three younger sisters who are not yet of voting age.

Guillermo said she was concerned that Trump could cancel a federal program that defers deportation for some undocumented youth like her older sister.

“You never know what goes through his head,” she said.

Francisco Morales, Nevada director of the Immigrant Voter Project for the Washington D.C.-based Center for Community Change Action, said early canvassing will start Saturday and that the local operation expects to have at least 50 staffers by the end of the month.

The national campaign is mostly focused in the key states of Nevada, Colorado and Florida, all of which have large or growing immigrant populations.

The campaign is backed by a Super PAC called the Immigrant Voters Win PAC, which has raised $3 million as of March 31, all from billionaire businessman George Soros, who gives to democratic causes. The campaign plans to raise $15 million by November.

In Nevada, PLAN Action, the political arm of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, the Culinary Union 226, and others have partnered with the Center for Community Change Action and the local branch of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice. The national Latino Victory Project, another pro-immigration group, is also a campaign partner.

David Damore is a UNLV political science professor and a senior analyst with Latino Decisions, which has done polling for America’s Voice, one of the organizations affiliated with the immigrant voters campaign.

Damore said the effort is unique in that a lot of money is coming from outside political party organizations. He added that these outside groups sometimes “come into a state and they don’t really know what they’re doing.”

At the event Tuesday, organizers criticized Trump’s rhetoric toward immigrants and sought to link him to Nevada Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, who is running for the U.S. Senate; U.S. Rep. Crescent Hardy, who is defending his 4th Congressional district seat; and Congressional District 3 candidate Danny Tarkanian.

“Trump, Heck, Hardy and Tarkanian may be the Republican dream team, (but) to the rest of us Americans, they’re a nightmare,” said Astrid Silva, organizing director for PLAN Action.

Locally, the group hopes for a turnout of 120,000 Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander voters in November. The national effort has a goal for a turnout of about 400,000 voters.

Guillermo, who plans to vote for the first time this November, said she never paid much attention to elections because she didn’t understand how it could impact her everyday life.

But Guillermo said that changed this election cycle.

“If I want to make a difference in my household, I have to go out and vote,” she said.

Contact Alexander S. Corey at or 702-383-0270. Find @acoreynews on Twitter.

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