Reno Radio Ads Push Immigration Reform - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Reno Radio Ads Push Immigration Reform

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When the U.S. House resumes their session next week, they'll be facing some unfinished business. Immigration reform, approved by the Senate, will be waiting for their vote. The vote hits close to home. Hug High student Sam Mendoza just turned 18-years-old, but already he has a message for his congressman: "Look at us as families. We are legal, but our family members may not be."

You've probably heard Sam's message yourself…on the radio. The commercial, running on Reno radio stations for over a week now, has Mendoza telling listeners, "I have legal status to study and work. But my father doesn't. Every day I pray that he won't be deported." Sam told us his father was unable to get his driver's license renewed because he didn't have a green card. As he told us his story, Pat Fling said, "It's really sad. If his dad is deported, he's talking about dropping out of high school to support his family."

Pat Fling's group "ACTIONN" (Acting in Community Together in Organizing Northern Nevada) is one of the faith-based organizations sponsoring the dramatic radio ad. Sam was picked to put a human face on the issue. His favorite class at Hug High? U.S. history. As Sam told us, "I love this country. I grew up in this country."

At Reno's St. Thomas Aquinas Cathedral, Father Francisco Nahoe says he knows too many longtime Reno families, like Sam's, facing deportation. One is a family of 4…2 were born in Mexico. Undocumented, they can't return if they go back to visit their dying grandmother. He can name many more. As he told us, "Those families are right here in Nevada. They're in my parish, they're in every single parish in Reno, I guarantee it."

Nahoe feels so strongly about it, his voice is on the radio ad too, asking folks to call or write Congressman Mark Amodei. As he says in the ad, "Urge him to support a path to citizenship for people like Sam and his dad."

We contacted Congressman Amodei's office. They told us the congressman "is open to a process for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status based on meeting strict criteria coupled with more effective enforcement." Amodei himself wrote, "We are a nation of immigrants…we are also a nation of laws with the right to control our borders. It seems the one thing all sides can consistently agree on is that our immigration system, as presently constituted, is not working."

But Hug High senior Sam Mendoza told us he wants to hear something else: "If you've been here long enough, to stay in America and love America, you should be granted the legal rights and benefits all citizens have."

Sam's hopes may have to wait…immigration reform is being crowded out. Aides to GOP leaders say they won't bring the bill up for a vote this session, and instead are going to be focusing on federal spending for the next fiscal year. And as we all know, the president has a new issue: getting Congress to authorize military strikes on Syria.

-written by John Potter

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