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Bernie Sanders Hires High-Profile DREAMer Activist For Latino Outreach

Cesar Vargas is the third high-profile immigration activist to join a Democratic presidential campaign. Sanders also added Javier Gonzalez as its Nevada field director, also with a role in Latino outreach in the southwest.

Posted on October 22, 2015, at 5:25 p.m. ET

Alex Brandon / AP

Bernie Sanders continues to grow his Latino outreach staff, adding Cesar Vargas, a high-profile DREAMer activist who has fought for undocumented youth to be able to serve in the military and advocated for Obama's executive actions on immigration last year.

Vargas, who will initially focus on Nevada, joins the growing Hispanic outreach team led by Arturo Carmona, who recently left advocacy organization Presente to serve in the role as well as the southwest political director.

Vargas, 31, will work to mobilize young voters, particularly in the Southwest, where Nevada is the third state on the Democratic nominating calendar.

"I joined the campaign because the senator believes not only that we should meet DREAMers but that DREAMers should be part of the conversation to champion policies for the Latino community," Vargas said in a statement to BuzzFeed News.

A source with knowledge said Sanders's campaign said they are excited about the hire because of Vargas place at the heart of the DREAMer movement, which will help build a bridge to young Hispanics.

Vargas, who has tried to become the first undocumented lawyer to practice in New York, joins Javier Gonzalez, who was named the Nevada state field director. Gonzalez previously worked in labor for the SEIU, on organizing efforts like the million people "negra marchas" — marches for immigration efforts — in 2006.

Reached for comment, Carmona said Gonzalez hire will help Sanders in Nevada.

"It's a huge deal. Javier Gonzalez comes from a line of organizing that has amassed a number of political victories organizing Latinos, immigrants, janitors and undocumented immigrants," he said of his work in California where they worked together.

Vargas, who was with Arizona's Dream Action Coalition, is the second DREAMer activist hired by a Democratic presidential campaign, joining Lorella Praeli, formerly of United We Dream (UWD), who became Hillary Clinton's Latino outreach director earlier this year.

While the Sanders campaign has garnered massive, organic enthusiasm from progressives, Clinton's operation in Nevada features experienced operatives who have been in place since April and were part of Obama's successful 2012 efforts in the state.

Cristina Jimenez, the managing director of UWD, said the hires speak to the power of the immigration movement, and considers it a positive that these campaigns have people within them who have been undocumented, but she said organizations like hers have to look out for the community.

"What I said to Lorella and would say to the others is: I’ll see you on the battlefield," she said. "You have a boss now and you're going to be working for their interest."

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