Immigrant Youth Are Mobilizing Our Communities This Election

Make the Road Action
4 min readNov 2, 2020


By Salma Garcia Hernandez, Make the Road Action in Nevada

When my family and friends see me calling people most days, even though I can’t vote myself, I often get a one-word response: “Why?”

But this election means so much that I can’t understand why I wouldn’t be working day and night to protect our democracy.

Nevada, which was narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, is again a so-called “battleground” state — one that could easily determine who our next President will be.

And who the President is will have a huge impact not just on me, not just on our community, but on our entire country. And those of us who live here in Nevada have a special chance to make a difference.

For one thing — who the President is is going to have a huge impact on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) — a program that has allowed me and thousands of other immigrant youth in Nevada to get work permits and remain with our families. I came here from Mexico when I was seven and have lived here for almost 16 years. I work hard, pay taxes and just want to remain in the country that is now my home. But this Obama initiative has become a political football with President Trump trying at every turn to kill it — despite a Supreme Court victory. This has put nearly one million young immigrants across the country at risk of deportation, despite their having lived here for years or decades.

Salma Garcia Hernandez

But it’s not just immigration law that’s at stake. President Trump has repeatedly refused to condemn white supremacy. As recently as the first debate, instead of unequivocally saying white supremacy has no place in America, he told a hate group to “stand back and stand by” — which many people recognized was a reminder that they should be ready. This has now become their rallying cry.

Trump is using his divisive racial appeals to distract voters from his failure to solve problems and his efforts to line the pockets of billionaires at working people’s expense.

Instead of standing up for working families who are struggling to get by, especially now during the COVID pandemic, he gave massive tax cuts to the wealthy. Instead of combating the climate change that is devastating the West right now with massive fires, he has at times called it a hoax. And instead of protecting health coverage for the 20 million Americans who depend on Obamacare, he has spent four years trying to gut the law. This would leave people with pre-existing conditions at risk of being thrown off their health insurance when they need it most.

Our communities have the ability to send Trump packing and elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. This would bring urgently needed change to Washington, so we can move on to fighting for the transformative health care, immigration, and economic policies that we need.

All we need to do is vote. Nevada used to be a state where communities like ours didn’t have much of a voice. But that’s not true anymore.

Non-white voters make up a much larger percentage of Nevada voters now than they did as recently as 2000 — making up almost half the voters, up from about a quarter.

So that’s why, whether it’s making phone calls or crafting digital messages to give people information about how to vote, I’m spending all of my time making sure my neighbors, friends and family know what’s at stake. The organization I’m part of — Make the Road Action in Nevada — is reaching more than 80,000 Black and Latino voters to make sure our communities turn out and make our voices heard.

Some days I feel like I’ve talked to half that number myself. But I know that if we don’t all get out and vote, Trump could win again. And we can’t afford that.

Salma Garcia Hernandez is a Digital Organizer at Make the Road Action in Nevada, a community organization working to build community power in Latino communities in Nevada. On Twitter: @MakeRoadActNV



Make the Road Action

Building political power rooted in working class Latino communities. @MaketheRoadAct