Hey Readers! We're back! Our summer interns have been hard at work the past two months on a wide array of issues. Las Vegas intern Max Del Rey shares his experience working to successfully defeat Nevada's own version of S.B. 1070. Check it out:
I love my summer internship with the ACLU of Nevada. In addition to tackling tough legal issues, this job provides me with the opportunity to participate in meetings with national organizations and to communicate with attorneys and activists of all sorts.
As one of my first major assignments this summer, I helped the ACLU of Nevada form a legal argument to oppose an initiative proposed by state legislator Chad Christensen that would have brought immigration laws to Nevada similar to those of Arizona’s S.B. 1070. The project afforded me the opportunity to sit in on conference calls with national ACLU affiliates and to attend meetings with other local nonprofit groups regarding messaging and grassroots organization.
At one of these meetings, ACLU of Nevada staff attorney Maggie McLetchie and I participated in a conference call of the Nevada affiliate of Reform Immigration for America (RIFA). Representatives from a diverse array of groups including the ACLU of Nevada, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, and The Latino Coalition came together on the call along with other diversity- and faith-based organizations.
The meeting brought the groups together to increase communication and cooperation in an effort to protect immigrants’ rights. The lasting impression with which I came away from the call was the energy and the preparedness that is in place to fight proposals like S.B. 1070, which promote xenophobia and false stereotypes about immigrants.
The concerns about the initiative were not limited to groups that support immigrants’ rights. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and the Nevada Open for Business Coalition also filed challenges, citing concerns about the threat of such an initiative to Nevada’s reputation as an open and welcoming state in which to visit and do business.
Amid this cascade of lawsuits and complaints filed with the Nevada secretary of state, Christensen withdrew his ill-conceived petition. It is clear to many in the activist community, though, that this latest proposal was merely a sign of greater challenges to come. Although Christensen’s initiative is dead, there will be others to face in the future. But that will not stop community groups, such as those sitting in on the RIFA call, from continuing to organize and take proactive measures to stop bad law from coming to Nevada. As long as the ACLU and others continue to engage in partnership and dialogue, we will ensure Nevadans are ready to stand up for their rights.
Max Del Rey is a student at Tulane Law School.