FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Bethany Khan: firstname.lastname@example.org ▪ (702) 387-7088
Hector Fong: email@example.com ▪ (702) 505-6748
Nevada Immigrant Coalition celebrates hardfought legislative victories for Nevada’s working families, secured $1 million for deportation defense, remains committed to continue winning protections for immigrants
Las Vegas, Nevada – The Nevada Immigrant Coalition (NIC) celebrates victories for Nevada’s working families passed into law that NIC championed during the 2021 Nevada Legislative Session. NIC is proud to have helped pass over 14 bills into law to protect immigrants and their families and continues to advocate for Nevadans at the federal and state level.
NIC advocated for expanded public support for deportation defense. Clark County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 to allocate $500,000 (over 2 years) for free legal assistance for people in deportation proceedings. Combined with the passage of AB376 in the 2021 Nevada Legislature, NIC has secured a total of $1 million to aid in deportation defense for Nevadans.
One in four Nevadan workers—nearly half a million people—are of immigrant background. Nevada is the state with the highest per capita undocumented immigrant population, which has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. Immigrant-owned businesses are not only widespread, they are also some of the most profitable with 75% of Fortune 500 companies based in Nevada being founded by immigrants or their children. Protection for Nevada’s working families ensures that Nevada has the stable workforce necessary to continue in its path to economic recovery and growth for the foreseeable future.
Deportation defense –
Nevada must protect immigrants by eliminating the pipelines under state and local control that place Nevadans in deportation proceedings. The deportation pipeline results in permanent expulsion and separation from families and communities, as well as long periods of detention. Those dire consequences are often coupled with the life-threatening risks that people may face in their countries of origin. Despite the dire consequences in removal proceedings, immigrants are not provided representation by the federal government in those proceedings. They must pay for it themselves, a cost that most cannot afford. As a result, most immigrants go unrepresented, facing detention and deportation alone. At the same time, entangling local law enforcement in a broken federal immigration system misallocated scarce Nevada resources against the interest of Nevada working families.
AB116: Decriminalizes traffic tickets. Fully implemented into law January 1, 2023.
AB376: “Keep Nevada Working Act” includes an appropriation of $500,000 over 2 years to the UNLV Immigration Clinic to support deportation defense services, the development of a Keep Nevada Working Task Force within the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and requires the Attorney General to develop model policies on immigration enforcement. Fully goes into law October 1, 2021.
SB219: Ban license suspension for failure to pay fines and fees. Fully implemented into law October 1, 2021.
Language accessibility of our multilingual state –
The 2020 Census shows that Nevada is one of the most diverse states in the country. Our diversity derives from our growing immigrant population. The American Immigration Council reports that 1 in 5 of Nevada residents is foreign-born. According to the 2019 Census American Community Survey (ACS), there are 45,755 Spanish LEP households, 3,649 Tagalog LEP households, 1,190 Vietnamese LEP households, 5,395 Chinese LEP households, and 807 Korean LEP households. With more than 15% growth in population as a state, the API population has grown from roughly 92,000 Asians in 2000, to nearly 12% of the state’s population. As a state, we must continue to prioritize legislation and programs that increase language access for all Nevadans.
AB177: Allows for the printing of prescription labels on the bottle to be in a language other than English. Fully implemented into law July 1, 2022.
AB212: Adds interpreters as representatives to the committee to advise the Court Administrator regarding adoption of regulations relating to the certification or registration of court interpreters. Fully implemented into law October 1, 2021.
AB359: Requires that some businesses that advertise in a language other than English must also have contracts available in those languages. Fully implemented into law October 1, 2021.
SB318: Ensure access to COVID-19 information for people with limited English proficiency, and require state agencies to develop language access plans and share with the legislature. Fully implemented into law June 7, 2021.
Educational equity for all children in Nevada –
Education equity is a top priority for the Nevada Immigrant Coalition. 2021 saw the success of a number of measures aimed at improving the culture and climate in schools for immigrant children and children of color. However, opportunity equity took a serious setback with a new funding formula that does not address the existing opportunity gaps impacting working class and immigrant children, who live mostly in Nevada’s poorest zip codes and segregated neighborhoods. In order to find funds for the new funding formula “weights,” Zoom and Victory were gutted, in spite of a decade of success and steady improvement of previously neglected low performing schools. The new funding formula does not fully address the needs of children from low socio-eocnomic backgrounds, English Language learners, and special education children. NIC commits to come back in 2023 to fight for children who are the most impacted and vulnerable and who have already slipped substantially behind because of COVID-19.
AB195: “English Language Learner Bill of Rights” obligates school districts to maintain on their website information on the learning progress of English Language Learners student achievement and fully inform parents of the opportunity and learning gaps. The Bill of Rights establishes that all English Language Learners must have access to any enhanced academic opportunities. Parents now have a right, similar to the right provided by federal regulation, to have the assistance of an interpreter in all significant interactions with the school district. Fully implemented into law July 1, 2021.
AB261: Requires instruction on the history and contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinx, Asian Americans-Pacific Islanders, other minority populations, and immigrants, so that children can benefit from a K-12 education that provides a more complete and inclusive picture of the contributions of all American peoples. The law also expressly prohibits the purchase of instructional material that does not “accurately portray the history and contributions of those groups.” Fully implemented into law July 1, 2022.
AB371: Prohibits discrimination based on race in schools, in addition to bullyng and cyberbullying. Parents, students, teachers and peers can report single and repeated incidents of racial discrimination, which includes acts targetting national origin, religion, language, and skin color, that create a hostile environment for learning. The school board must develop restorative pracises for both the perpetrator and the target of the racial discrimination. Fully implemented into law July 1, 2021.
SB347: Provisions of AB213, the Nevada Dream Act, which provides for in-state tuition for undocumented students, was included in omnibus legislation that also covers sexual assault responses on college campuses. Fully implemented into law July 1, 2021.
Other important laws that NIC advocated for in NVLEG 2021 –
AB157: Authorizes a person to bring a civil action for damages if another person calls law enforcement on them for discriminatory purposes. Fully implemented into law October 1, 2021.
AB245: Gives the Secretary of State’s office the authority to enact a civil fine to be imposed on notaries who do not comply with the law prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law and bonding for public notaries. Fully implemented into law July 1, 2021.
AB327: Requires mental health providers to do continuing education in cultural competency. Fully implemented into law January 1, 2022.
Looking ahead –
Many school districts will continue Zoom and Victory programs in some form, due the federal ESSER funding requirements that school districts cannot reduce funding for equity programs. Nevada Immigrant Coalition has actively participated in providing community input to school districts on the learning needs of immigrant, English Language Learners, and working-class families. Systemic improvement of ELL instruction, addressing the missing learning of ELL children who were heavily impacted by remote learning, and communication in the language of immigrant parents were among the key community requests for ESSER funding. NIC intends to continue to advocate for English Language Learners, working-class students who were unable to access remote learning during COVID-19, and parents whose primary language is not English. Immigrant children continue to attend schools that are overcrowded, lack adequate air conditioning, and have no facilities for after-school activities.
The Nevada Immigrant Coalition is proud of what we were able to accomplish during the 2021 NVLEG session and remains committed to establishing statewide practices regarding the enforcement of federal immigration laws by state/local agencies and for providing improved support of economic opportunities for all Nevadans, regardless of their immigration or citizenship status.
NIC, composed of directly impacted activists and individuals, will continue deep engagement with the immigrant community across the state and will continue to bring comprehensive legislative solutions forward for the issues that working families in Nevadans face.
ABOUT THE NEVADA IMMIGRANT COALITION:
The Nevada Immigrant Coalition (NIC) ensures immigrant, refugee, and new American voices are heard at a local, state, and federal level to advocate for humane and fair immigration policies. The coalition focuses on strengthening a network that provides services, resources, and deportation defense to immigrants and refugees across the state while strategically organizing around issues that are important to all Nevadans. We believe in working towards a Nevada that welcomes, respects, and protects everyone regardless of their immigration status.
The Nevada Immigrant Coalition (NIC) is comprised of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Culinary Union, Make the Road Nevada, Mi Familia Vota, ACLU of Nevada, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Asian Community Development Council, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, ECDC – African Community Center, Faith in Action Nevada, For Nevada’s Future, ONE APIA Nevada, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, SEIU 1107, UndocuNetwork, and UNLV Immigration Legal Clinic.