by ADAM BURKE
LAS VEGAS — President Barack Obama chose Las Vegas to unveil his ideas on immigration reform. And while some might see the middle of the Mojave Desert as an odd place for a seminal speech on immigration, Las Vegas may have been the perfect soapbox.
Nevada is home to some 190,000 undocumented immigrants -- some of them politically active. Take 49-year-old Maria Espinosa, for example, who works low-paying jobs making fast food and cleaning houses. Last fall, Espinosa helped Barack Obama win in Nevada.
"He was my hope," she said. "For me and for a lot of undocumented people.”
Espinosa canvassed neighborhoods. She worked at phone banks. And she rallied other undocumented immigrants. When undocumented people told her they were powerless to act because they have no vote, her response was:
"Maybe you have a friend, a neighbor, family, that they are citizens. And they know how you are working hard for this country. Just tell them: you know vote. Vote. Because you can be my voice, you can help me, getting my papers.”
Espinosa was part of a successful grassroots mobilization brought a record number of Latinos to the polls in Nevada. Some 80 percent of Nevada Latinos voted for Obama.