POLITICS

Obama uses Vegas school once again as world stage to lay out immigration reform vision

Matt Finn talks to students at Del Sol High School about President Obama's visit

 

President Barack Obama’s much anticipated executive order deferring the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants came from the White House Thursday night.

But on Friday, the president is heading to Nevada to expand on his remarks at a diverse high school in Las Vegas. At Del Sol High School, Obama is expected to sign his executive order, which will defer deportation for about 5 million immigrants in the country illegally, and call for Congress to pass an immigration reform law.

It will not be the first time the president has been to Del Sol High School. In 2008, he visited the school as a presidential candidate. He also spoke there in January 2013 to lay out his vision for immigration reform.

Almost two years later, President Obama is once again using the predominantly Latino school as the world stage to lay out his vision for immigration reform.

The school – which has 1,900 students and is 63 percent Hispanic — is in the Clark County School District, consistently ranked one of the poorest performing school systems in the country.

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School officials and Clark County School Board members did not respond to requests for comment. No one from the White House has said why the school seems to have become a personal favorite for Obama when it comes to important immigration speeches.

“I think the reason he did pick our school is because we have the largest population of Hispanics,” said Satah Matus, a sophomore at Del Sol High School.

Students said they are excited to have the country’s commander-in-chief return to their school.

“People are pretty interested just because it’s like a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said sophomore Alex Michael.

Immigration reform is a topic that hits home for many of these students. Nevada has the highest percentage of undocumented immigrants, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center. The state is 27 percent Hispanic and has the fifth-largest percentage of Latinos in the U.S., according to Pew.

At Del Sol High School, about 13 percent of the students are English-language learners.

Many of the students say they know students who come from families of undocumented immigrants.

“They’re nervous and they’re scared about what’s going to happen to them,” said sophomore Nicki Zuniga. “They don’t know if they have to go back because sometimes it can be unsafe for them.”

Just like the entire country—the Del Sol students have mixed opinions about immigration reform and pardoning those who are already here illegally.

“I feel like it’s good and bad because, in a way, we’re solving problems,” Michael said. “At the same time we’re, you know, letting these people in which is not a bad thing, this is kind of bringing more revenue into the country. And these people that aren’t paying their taxes, they have a chance to pay their taxes and become legal.”

Zuniga said the undocumented immigrants getting a temporary reprieve from deportation have earned their right to stay in the country.

“The people that are here, they worked hard and they should be here because they have jobs and they’ve worked hard for it,” Zuniga said.

Undergrad students say they’re slightly upset because they have to deal with Secret Service sweeps throughout the day—but the president’s speech is only open to juniors and seniors.

Matt Finn is a Fox News correspondent based in the Chicago bureau. Follow him on Twitter: @MattFinnFNC