What Latinos Are Telling Us about Bernie Sanders

February 20th 2016

Nicole Charky

LAS VEGAS — In the hours ahead of Nevada's Democratic caucus, there's a major debate here over whether Sen. Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton will win the Latino vote. And although Sanders' immigration record has come under question in the state where both the minority and youth vote could determine the close race within in the next few hours, according to U.S. News and World Report, many Latinos here are still voicing support for him regardless.

In Nevada, 53 percent of Latino voters are eligible to vote and could account for 20 percent of total cast ballots come November, making a huge impact on the 2016 election, CNN reports.

These are some of the Latino voices leading the Democratic side of the caucus ahead of the big weekend. It all starts with a special crew called the DREAMers.

This is Pedro Duran, 18, he's one of them.

Pedro Duran, a DREAMer campaigning for Bernie Sanders in Nevada

Duran can't vote because he's part of a big network of DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Nonetheless, the high school senior is working hard to encourage people in his home state to cast their ballots. Duran told ATTN:

"I'm a DREAMer. I came here when I was six because there was corruption in Ecuador. I can't vote because I'm a DREAMer but it's a big change that Bernie's calling for and I'm trying to get as many people as I can to vote."

He met actress Susan Sarandon with fellow DREAMer Isaiah Wires, 20. Sarandon joked that the two didn't look old enough to vote, but they explained they actually couldn't legally vote at all.

Actress Susan Sarandon speaks with DREAMers Pedro Duran and Isaiah Wires

Sarandon was canvassing for the Sanders campaign in Las Vegas throughout the day Thursday and recently said it was OK for women to vote for Sanders and not default to Clinton just because she's a female candidate, a response to the quasi-feminism-war-of-the-worlds series of attacks during the election season.

Marco Antonio Regil, Los Angeles

Marco Antonio Regil campaigns for Bernie Sanders in Las Vegas

Regil is the host of "Family Feud" in Spanish, among other shows, and also authored a heated open letter to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He was born in Mexico and understands the struggles that Latinos can go through. He told ATTN:

"I'm here supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada, reaching out to Latinos. We're going to casinos, we're going to break rooms to talk about what Bernie Sanders stands for. I am with Bernie because I truly believe that he is the guy that has absolutely no commitment with anyone else but us. He's been saying the same things for 30 years. He's always been an activist and and independent. And he's talking about education, health, the environment, and equality."

Adrianna Sanchez, 19, Las Vegas

Adrianna Sanchez at a Bernie Sanders rally in Henderson, Nevada

Sanchez is a University of Las Vegas Nevada student studying Kinesiology. She is a first-time voter who drove with her sister and friend 30 minutes across town through traffic. She told ATTN: why:

"Bernie has a lot to say... He is on the older side, and that was one of the reasons I was nervous about picking him, but then I saw his past, with the way he was fighting for us younger kids and basically all the other people who are minorities, and coming from half Hispanic, half white, it was like, 'Well, he's fighting for both sides of my family.' That's why I'm out here."

Erika Andiola, 28, Arizona

Erika Andiola Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer in Las Vegas

Andiola is the National Press Secretary for Latino Outreach for the Sanders campaign. She told ATTN: why this grassroots movement is drawing so many women to consider Sanders:

"For me, I am a woman, but I am more than a woman. I am a daughter, I'm an immigrant, I am a Latina and I am someone who grew up in a very low-income family. So I think that if I was just to go and support somebody just because of the fact that I am a woman, I would leave everything else behind... I think women are smart enough to think for themselves in terms of who they want to support based on their political views and not necessarily because they're going to go with the identity of someone. If that was the case, then as a Latina, maybe I could go for Rubio or Cruz and I'm definitely not going to do that."

Chris Villanueva, 27, Las Vegas

Chris Villanueva campaigns for Bernie Sanders in Nevada

Villanueva works in education, he wants money out of politics. He told ATTN: why he's feeling the Bern:

"I've never had a reason to vote before. I've never been involved. But now I'm going around, making calls, canvassing, falling off my bike, playing, singing and dancing for Bernie. And I just believe that he is going to change the world, not just this country. I'm a music educator myself and I love that Bernie is supporting the arts. We should have music in every school, every program, for every kid — it's a right. It's so great for developing creativity, your passion and you just learn all kinds of life lessons through music. He has inspired me to get into politics myself. I want to help the revolution. He needs people to help support him... I'm going to sign up as a precinct captain."