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The Democrats' Biggest Contrast With Trump's Immigration Vision Will Be A Family

Karla Ortiz and her mother Francisca, who would have been eligible for Obama's immigration actions, will speak at the Democratic convention Monday.

Posted on July 24, 2016, at 8:46 p.m. ET

Courtesy Astrid Silva

PHILADELPHIA β€” The Democrats will be presenting a starkly different immigration message this week during their convention β€” especially around the issue of undocumented immigration.

At the RNC, Donald Trump described a violent America, which featured the suffering of innocents at the hands of vicious undocumented immigrants; the convention also featured people whose son or daughter had been killed by an undocumented immigrant.

In Philadelphia, the Democratic National Convention will present three faces from Nevada by way of Mexico: a young woman, Astrid Silva a DREAMer activist; and Karla and Francisca Ortiz, a 10-year-old U.S. citizen girl and her undocumented mother, who will all speak at the convention Monday.

In October 2013, after a lawyer repeatedly accepted money from the Ortiz family but didn't help them, immigration agents came to detain Karla Ortiz' father. His status, and her mother's, are perilous. They were given an order of deportation but were granted a stay after Sen. Harry Reid and former Rep. Steven Horsford intervened.

During the lead up to the February Nevada caucus, Karla Ortiz was in the audience for a Clinton event with DREAMers, including Silva, and their parents. It wasn't planned for her to ask a question, but she did, and the moment was captured by videographers that trail Clinton.

Karla Ortiz began to cry, asking Clinton to protect her parents. A glassy-eyed Clinton told the young girl she was being very brave and to let her do the worrying. From the experience, the campaign produced an ad titled "Brave" that was effective, particularly in Nevada.

After, in a note Karla Ortiz wrote to Clinton, obtained by BuzzFeed News, she said that growing up she went to court a lot and never knew why her parents were always crying.

"One day my heart hurt and they took me to the doctor," Karla wrote. "The doctor said that my heart speeds up and that he thought it was because I was afraid all the time. The doctor told my mom that she had to take care of my heart because fear could make me sick."

The moment on Monday will be striking. Karla Ortiz will speak, but so will her mother β€” in Spanish, with her daughter translating for her, a reality that many children of immigrants have dealt with for decades and continue to deal with.

"When you become the voice of your parent, you are thrown into being an adult when you are a kid," one Clinton staffer said.

Silva, the second DREAMer to speak at the DNC, will be one of the headliners Monday. Lorella Praeli, an activist turned staffer who is running the Latino vote program for the campaign, said DREAMers have been normalized in a way parents haven't been yet, which represents progress for the immigration movement.

She said Karla and Francisca Ortiz are excited and nervous. "They can’t really believe it’s happening, they see themselves as bringing us closer to the solution," she said.

Erika Andiola, an activist and Praeli's opponent on the Bernie Sanders side during the primary, agreed.

"I think definitely it’s a step forward," she said, noting that she also wanted people who are not eligible for Obama's immigration actions and an unaccompanied minor to speak.

"I’m glad that we have folks who are affected by immigration system that are actually speaking, telling their stories about them and their families," she said.

Alida Garcia, a 2012 Obama campaign veteran who works for Mark Zuckerberg's immigration advocacy group FWD.us, said that both Karla and Francisca Ortiz speaking was a sign of growth for the movement "and a more accurate reflection of who we’re fighting for when we talk about comprehensive immigration reform."

Out of the 11 million undocumented, DREAMers are only around 2 million of those, she said.

"Having a parent on stage is affirmation of who we’re fighting for when we want to pass immigration reform," she added.

In February, Karla Ortiz told Clinton she was afraid her parent's were going to be deported. Now she will share that message from the Democratic convention stage.

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