Nationwide immigration conference focuses on the future


GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO "HORIZONTE." I AM JOSE CARDENAS. THE LARGEST CONFERENCE ON IMMIGRATION IN THE COUNTRY MET HERE IN THE VALLEY. FIND OUT ABOUT THE LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY. AND LEARN MORE ABOUT A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED COLLEGE ACCESS PROGRAM FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. AND SOC HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EAST VALLEY WITH ART EVERYWHERE. WE LOOK AT ALL THIS COMING UP NEXT ON "HORIZONTE."

"HORIZONTE" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

JOSE CARDENAS: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. THE NATIONAL IMMIGRATION-IMMIGTANT IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE RATHER, THE LARGEST IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE IN THE COUNTRY, WAS HELD IN PHOENIX THIS YEAR. IMMIGRANT LEADERS, EXPERTS AND PUBLIC OFFICIALS MET TO DISCUSS ISSUES SUCH AS THE POLITICS OF IMMIGRATION AND THE FUTURE FOR THOSE COMING TO AMERICA. JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE CONFERENCE IS YAHIERY MORA, DIRECTOR FOR CASA IN ACTION. YAHIERY THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON "HORIZONTE." YOU ARE FROM VIRGINIA.

YAHIERY MORA: THAT IS RIGHT.

JOSE CARDENAS: ONE OF MANY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO CAME FROM OUT OF STATE TO ATTEND THIS COONFERENCE. WHAT WAS SO IMPORTANT ABOUT IT?

YAHIERY MORA: ABSOLUTELY. THIS WAS JUST A GREAT OPPORTUNITY. AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME, THIS DIFFICULT POLITICAL MOMENT TO COME TOGETHER AND BRING ALL OF THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT TOGETHER TO REALLY TALK ABOUT NEXT YEAR ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE AND ABOUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO OVERCOME THAT AND WHAT NEXT YEAR ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE. HOW ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND I KNOW BECAUSE WE HAD GUESTS ON RECENTLY TO TALK ABOUT THE CONFERENCE COMING UP THAT IT WAS BOTH TALKING ABOUT WHAT TO DO NEXT BUT ALSO A LOOK BACK AND SOME INSPIRATION FROM THE HEROES OF THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

YAHIERY MORA: THAT IS RIGHT. WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR FROM THIS AMAZING CIVIL RIGHTS HEROES. WE HAD- IN THE PANEL WE HAD CONGRESSMAN GUITEREZ. WE HAD BUCK MOSES. WE HAD DOLORES HUERTA, AND HEATHER BOOTHWHO JOINED UP AND CERTAINLY SHARED THEIR EXPERIENCES AND THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY FACED AS THEY HAD BEEN FIGHTING THE FIGHT.

JOSE CARDENAS: WAS THERE ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW THEIR EXPERIENCES COULD BE USEFUL IN THE AGE OF TRUMP WHICH MANY PEOPLE THINK IS DIFFERENT. EVERY NIGHT ON THE NEWS YOU HEAR SOMEONE SAY THIS IS UNPRECEDENTED.

YAHIERY MORA: THAT IS RIGHT AND IT WAS. IT WAS CLEAR THAT THESE ARE TIMES THAT- WE HAVE FACED DIFFICULT MOMENTS BUT THIS BRINGS ITS OWN UNIQUE CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE NOT SEEN BEFORE. PART OF THE CONVERSATION WAS NOT ONLY ABOUT WHAT WE ARE SEEING NOW BUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET TO THE NEXT LEVEL. RIGHT? HOW DO WE JUST FOCUS ABOUT THE NEGATIVES BUT ACTUALLY GIVE PUSH AND MOVE OUR COMMUNITIES FORWARD.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND I UNDERSTAND ONE OF THE THINGS AND AGAIN THIS IS FROM OUR PRIOR INTERVIEW THAT WAS GOING TO BE A FOCUS IS WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN ARIZONA WITH RESPECT TO LEGISLATION SUCH AS SB1070 THE DEFEAT OF SHERIFF ARPAIO AT THE ELECTION POST. HOW DID THAT COME OUT? WAS IT USEFUL INFORMATION? WHAT WERE YOU TOLD AND WAS IT USEFUL?

YAHIERY MORA: YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT HAVING THIS CONFERENCE IN ARIZONA, OBVIOUSLY THE STATE HAS EXPERIENCED ALL OF THIS. JUST VERY DIFFICULT MOMENTS FOR THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES AND SO MANY LESSONS CAME FROM THE ARIZONA EXPERIENCE THAT WERE TOLD AT THIS CONFERENCE THAT WE HAVE BEEN ALL LEARNING FROM AND USING THAT AS WE DO WORK IN OUR RESPECTIVE STATES. SO WE HAD A CHANCE TO HEAR ABOUT THESE LESSONS AND ALSO HAD A CHANCE TO HEAR ABOUT THESE GREAT VICTORIES SUCH AS THE RECENT ELECTION OF STATE ASSEMBLY IN THE CITY OF PHOENIX. TONY, A LATINO ASSEMBLY MAN, NEWLY ELECTED, AND THAT IS A VICTORY. WE USE THAT EXPERIENCE TO EXEMPLIFY THAT WE HAVE BEEN COMBATANT THIS AND WE CONTINUE TO MOVE FORWARD AND MAKE STRIDES AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO MAKE SURE FOLKS FROM THE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS MOVEMENT GET ELECTED TO OFFICE. WHAT A DIFFERENCE THAT MAKES.

JOSE CARDENAS: YOU MENTIONED CONGRESSMAN LUIS GUITEREZ WHO ANNOUNCED THAT HE IS RESIGNING. WHAT KIND OF IMPACT WILL THAT HAVE?

YAHIERY MORA: YOU WHAT HE SHARED WITH US IS THAT HE IS NOT RESIGNING. HE IS RETIRING.

JOSE CARDENAS: I SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE PRECISE.

YAHIERY MORA: HE MADE IT VERY CLEAR IT IS DIFFERENT. WHAT WAS EXTREMELY EXCITING IS THAT PRELIMINARY SESSION WAS VERY HIGH ENERGY AND EXCITING BECAUSE HE SAID I AM NOT GOING TO BE IN CONGRESS ANYMORE AFTER ALL OF THESE YEARS BUT I AM HERE TO BE IN THE FIGHT. I WILL CONTINUE TO BE -- TO DO THE WORK THAT I DO. SO IF THERE IS ANY MEETINGS, IN THE COMMUNITY IF THERE IS A NEED I WANT TO KNOW. I’LL BE ILL TAKING THIS TIME TO CONTINUE THE WORK. NOT IN THIS CASE IN THE CAPACITY AS THE CONGRESSMAN BUT HE IS DEVELOPING SORT OF THIS CAMPAIGN WHERE HE GETS TO DO THE THINGS HE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT WHICH IS IMMIGRANT RIGHTS WORK AND REALLY BUILDING AND EMPOWERING COMMUNITIES OF COLOR WHICH IT WAS EXTREMELY INSPIRING.

JOSE CARDENAS: WE TALKED ABOUT THE LESSONS THAT MIGHT BE LEARNED FROM WHAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN ARIZONA BUT OTHER PEOPLE, YOURSELF INCLUDED, WHO BROUGHT YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES. CASA IN ACTION HAD VICTORIES IN VIRGINIA. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

YAHIERY MORA: ABSOLUTELY. WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE GREAT WINS AND DECISIVE VICTORIES FROM VIRGINIA WHERE THIS CYCLE, WE HAD NOT ONLY ONE DECISIVE VICTORIES OF THE BALLET WITH THE ELECTION OF -- WITH THE NEW GOVERNOR, RALPH NORTHAM AND ATTORNEY GENERAL LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BUT ALSO AMAZING VICTORIES DOWN THE BALLOT WHERE 15 PREVIOUSLY HELD REPUBLICAN HOUSE DISTRICTS WERE FLIPPED. LET ME TELL YOU, FOUR OF THE DISTRICTS WERE MY ORGANIZATION CASA WAS DOING WORK IN ARE NOW HELD BY WOMEN OF COLOR. TWO OF THEM, THE FIRST LATINA EVER ELECTED TO THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES. AND ALSO TRANSGENDER WAS ELECTED IN A DISTRICT WHERE THE INCUMBENT WAS THE SENIOR DELEGATE AND OUTSPOKEN AND VERY WELL KNOWN ANTI-IMMIGRANT DELEGATE. WE HAD THAT VICTORY AND ALSO ELECTED AN IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ACTIVIST WHO CAME FROM VIETNAM AS A REFUGE. THOSE ARE LESSONS THAT REALLY SHOWS US THAT THIS CAN BE DONE.

JOSE CARDENAS: HOW DID YOU TRANSLATE THOSE EXPERIENCES INTO WHAT YOU ARE TELLING PEOPLE THEY NEED TO DO GOING FORWARD?

YAHIERY MORA: ABSOLUTELY. WHAT THOSE EXPERIENCES TEACHES IS ONE- SEVERAL THINGS. ONE, IN VIRGINIA EXPERIENCE SHOWS THAT IMMIGRATION IS A CENTER STAGE ISSUE IN AN ELECTORAL DEBATE. WE HAD MANY RACIST ADS HIGHLIGHTING THE LATINO AND IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY AS GANG MEMBERS WHICH IS UNFORTUNATE. THOSE THINGS ARE GOING TO CONTINUE IN 2018. THE REALITY IS THAT WE HAVE TO ONE BE READY TO CALL THESE THINGS WHAT THEY ARE. THEY ARE NOT GOOD. THEY ARE RACIST ATTACKS. BUT YOU KNOW, MAINLY THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE REALLY GET OUR COMMUNITY OUT, OUR COMMUNITIES OUT TO VOTE AND WE HAVE CANDIDATES THAT REALLY REPRESENT THE CHANGE IN DEMOGRAPHICS AND THAT BRING THIS MESSAGE OF HOPE.

JOSE CARDENAS: WELL, THERE IS AN INTERESTING YEAR COMING UP FOR ALL OF US. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT IT.

YAHIERY MORA: ABSOLUTELY.

The largest immigration conference in the country was held in Phoenix this year, where immigrant leaders from across the country came to discuss issues facing their community.

Immigrant leaders, experts, and public officials met at the National Immigrant Integration Conference earlier this month to discuss issues such as the politics of immigration and the future for those coming to America. Yaheiry Mora, Senior Policy and Elections manager for Casa in Action, says this moment in history is one of the most important times for immigrants to come together in unity.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Yaheiry Mora: Senior Policy and Elections Manager, for Casa in Action

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

Enjoy 14 concerts in Arizona PBS Passport Summer Series

Beginning Aug. 1 your Arizona PBS Passport membership is also your front-row seat to 14 legendary concerts this summer.

'Wonders of Mexico' takes you into the country's tropical rainforests

Travel south along Mexico’s mountain spine in another Summer of Adventure show, “Wonders of Mexico.”

'Great Performances' celebrates Chicago's diverse musical heritage with 'Chicago Voices'