Leading voices in immigration convene for California Bold Conference

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- California took center stage during a whirlwind year on immigration matters and it's considered a key state to resist hardline policy from the White House.

Leading voices on the issue gathered in Los Angeles for the California Bold Conference.

"California Bold is trying to talk about the ways in which California has tried to lead on immigrant integration, on being more inclusive of immigrants and including undocumented Californians," said Manuel Pastor, conference organizer and director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC.

The National Immigration Law Center's executive director, Mariaelena Hincapie, said the state has provided NILC with a model to take to other states.

"California has been passing some of the most progressive policies that are not only pro-immigrant, they're actually pro-American - they're pro-Californian," Hincapie said.

As activists gathered at the Radisson Hotel at USC, leaders in the nation's capital tried to get a vote on legislation that would protect DREAMers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke for more than eight hours, telling the stories of DREAMers and opposing a spending deal without a permanent solution on DACA.

"What leader Pelosi is doing right now, reading the stories of DREAMers, trying to hold things up, trying to make sure this gets on the agenda, is extraordinarily important," Pastor said. "I think the thing that people forget about is that there are real lives at stake in this process and that you're really toying with actual human beings."

DACA recipient and Undocumedia co-founder Justino Mora argued Democrats had an opportunity to reach a deal during the last government shutdown.

"I think Democrats gave in too easily. They shouldn't have done it," he said.

Mora urges both houses and both parties to act, and asked those in favor of a DREAM Act to tweet and call their representatives.

"Our message to Washington D.C. and Congress is very simple: take action now, pass a clean DREAM Act now," he said.
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