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Clinton campaign hires immigration activist to lead Latino outreach

Thursday, 21 May 2015

 A prominent immigration activist has joined Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, bolstering the candidate’s early efforts to win Latino support just two weeks after she visited Las Vegas to call for a pathway to citizenship.

Lorella Praeli leaves a job as policy director for United We Dream, a Washington-based group with a broad national network that advocates for young immigrants.

“Bringing Lorella into our campaign is the next step in making sure families aren’t living in fear of deportation,” Amanda Renteria, the campaign’s national political director, said in a prepared statement. Praeli joins several high-profile Latinos in Clinton’s campaign, which include Renteria and two staffers in Nevada — Emmy Ruiz and Jorge Neri, state director and organizing director.

Praeli, born in Peru, moved to the U.S. when she was 10 and grew up undocumented before obtaining legal status in 2012. She has relatives living in the country illegally, and the family was, at one time, openly critical of President Barack Obama’s immigration policies.

As recently as November, her younger sister Maria confronted the president on immigration during a speech in Connecticut, weeks before Obama would travel to Las Vegas to lay out a contentious deportation deferral plan benefiting millions living in the shadows. Praeli and her mother were seated near the front of the packed event at Del Sol High School.

Praeli’s appointment helps cement the message Clinton delivered during her May 5 roundtable talk at Rancho High School, where she praised Obama’s recently announced executive actions granting deportation relief to millions but said she would “go a step further” if she were elected president. The move, intended to draw a stark divide between herself and GOP candidates, also put her to the left of many within the Democratic Party.

Hiring such an outspoken immigration advocate reinforces Clinton’s message, which she hopes will help win over a voting bloc for whom immigration has become a key issue, along with education, the economy and health care.

“When they talk about legal status, that is code for second-class status,” the former first lady and secretary of state said during her Las Vegas visit. “You know where I stand. There can’t be any question about it.”

Source: The Las Vegas Sun

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