Presidential Candidates Sanders, O’Malley Address Immigrant Rights Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Nov. 9, 2015CONTACT: Carlos Vogel, (202) 460-0713,

Forum Co-Sponsored by Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) and The Nation

(LAS VEGAS)—Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley participated in a non-partisan presidential forum co-hosted by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) in partnership with The Nation that took place in two sessions, today and yesterday, in Las Vegas to address issues that directly impact immigrant communities in America.

“This forum is a testament to the power of FIRM and our families,” said Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change Action (CCCAction).” Thanks to pro-immigrant voters in America every path to the White House in America must address our families! Because of the power of our families, politicians, especially presidential candidates, must be accountable to a vision for immigrant families in America.”

During the forum, Ivania Castillo from Virginia representing CASA in Action pointed out that “FIRM fights for the most vulnerable among immigrants- the undocumented and low wage workers, people who pay billions in taxes and are unable to access basic benefits like social security and tax credits. And despite all odds, there are many success stories - as students, business owners, contributors to our local communities, schools and the economy.”

Gustavo Velasco from Nevada representing the PLAN Leadership Alliance of Nevada asked both candidates during both forum sessions how they would deal with aggressive enforcement leading to detaining, incarcerating and deporting unprecedented numbers of immigrants.

Priscilia Rodriguez representing Michigan People’s Campaign, who has four children and is facing deportation, pressed Sen. Sanders on what his specific plans would be to invest targeted resources in the poorest communities of America would look like.

Angelica Salas, the executive director of the CHIRLA Action Fund in California, closed the forum with a powerful message to anti-immigrant extremists.

“And to the haters – the ones who call us dirty names, who see us through the prisms of skin color and the hemispheres where our families come from we say this: You are the past.  We are the future,” Salas said.

The presidential forum sessions, were part of a three day FIRM Strategy Summit that is taking place in Las Vegas through Nov. 10. The entire forum can be viewed at


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