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Immigrants And Latinos Line Up As Early As 5AM For Culinary Workers Union Citizenship Workshop

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The 2016 Presidential campaign has exploded with a flood of anti-immigrant and anti-Latino vitriol from Republican candidates — and Latinos and immigrants are getting set to respond at the ballot box.

A fantastic video and must-read post from Emerson Collective highlights a recent citizenship workshop hosted by Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event drew more than 500 immigrants, with enthusiastic attendees lining up as early as 5 AM to get in:

The 2016 election cycle has ignited a wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric among candidates and their supporters—the consequences of which could reverberate for years. But the vitriol has sparked something different in immigrant communities across the country: a fervor to naturalize all eligible immigrants in time to cast votes in this year’s elections.

Without citizenship, these workers and their families are susceptible to exploitation and unable to protect themselves. Through the Culinary Workers Union, and in partnership with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, nearly 2,000 immigrants have already completed and submitted applications to become U.S. citizens this year. For new citizens, especially those in the swing state of Nevada, it’s an opportunity to participate in an election that could have a deep impact on their lives and generations to come.

“When we go door to door and talk to all these workers, we see the need for immigration reform,” said Nereyda Soto, a union volunteer. “We see the need for citizenship. That is the root of why we’re doing this.”

Volunteers came from as far as Washington, D.C., to guide immigrants through the application process at no cost, offering a safe space to ask questions and get tools and resources to study for English language and U.S. civics exams.

“I feel proud and honored to be a part of this,” said volunteer Emmanuel Gallardo Sanidad. “It’s historic.”

Click below to watch the video from Agatha Bacelar.