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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Major Immigrant Integration Conference Underway in Phoenix

The National Immigrant Integration Conference in Phoenix this week will tackle issues like DACA, TPS, and President Trump's travel ban. (Phil Soto)
The National Immigrant Integration Conference in Phoenix this week will tackle issues like DACA, TPS, and President Trump's travel ban. (Phil Soto)
December 11, 2017

PHOENIX -- More than 1,000 people are attending the nation's largest conference on immigrant integration, today and tomorrow at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The event is designed to bring grassroots organizers together from across the county to fight the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration. Petra Falcon is executive director at Promise Arizona, a conference co-sponsor. She said the immigrant-bashing that brought about SB 1070 - Arizona's so-called show me your papers law - in 2010, eventually motivated Arizonans to vote out the law's supporters.

"That message did not resonate with voters,” Falcon said; "because no longer do we have then-Senate President Russell Pearce, we no longer have Sheriff Joe Arpaio. So, it's going to take more of what we're doing now for people to understand that that isn't the way to go."

She said the conference will also address strategies to fight a number of President Donald Trump's policies, including the ban on people from certain majority-Muslim countries and his move to tighten refugee flows and end chain migration. They also oppose the decision to end Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants from countries like Haiti and Nicaragua, while one-time refugees from Honduras and El Salvador await a similar announcement from the White House.

Falcon said one of the most immediate issues is the passage of the Dream Act. When President Trump announced a phase-out of the DACA program, he said Congress was responsible for passing legislation allowing young people brought to the U.S. as children to remain here.

"DACA is working, and yet we've seen it reversed by this administration,” Falcon said. "So, we've got to lift up what is working. And DACA should be supported, and it should be included in this year's budget."

More than 1 million legal immigrants have applied to become American citizens in the past year, and many are determined to vote in 2018 - when there will be many wide-open races. In Arizona, that includes the governorship, Jeff Flake's U.S. Senate seat, and the state's entire congressional delegation.

Information on the National Immigrant Integration Conference is available here.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ