Laxalt Keeps Attacking Nevada Dreamers – All While His Family Came to U.S. Undocumented (via Axios)

Adam Laxalt has a history of fighting protections for Dreamers and immigrant families. 

In Case You Missed It, new reporting from Axios highlights how politician Adam Laxalt is stoking fear about Dreamer protections on the campaign trail that would have protected his own grandmother from facing deportation.

As attorney general, Adam Laxalt sued to deport millions of undocumented immigrants by blocking deportation protections. Laxalt was so aggressive in his anti-Dreamer efforts that it led to a public fight with Republican Governor Brian Sandoval. 

On the campaign trail, Laxalt has run TV and radio ads highlighting his efforts to attack Nevada’s Dreamers, and he’s even peddled the “replacement theory” — a “racist and anti-semitic conspiracy” centered around the idea that minorities, including Latinos, are to blame for problems in America.

Axios: GOP candidate and immigration hardliner had a grandmother who faced deportation

Russell Contreras // 10.19.22

Nevada’s Republican senatorial nominee, Adam Laxalt, has taken a hard-line stance against DREAMers and illegal immigration — despite his late father, Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, once saying Laxalt’s grandmother was undocumented.

Why it matters: Republicans are making illegal immigration a crucial issue in the midterm elections, and Laxalt is seizing on this in Nevada, where more immigrants have been moving to work in the casino and hotel industries.

  • But family histories are complicated and can disclose uncomfortable truths that conflict with today’s politics.

Details: Domenici in a 2006 Senate floor speech shocked colleagues when he revealed federal immigration authorities once detained his Italian-born mother, “who unknowingly was an illegal alien.”

  • Domenici said she came to the U.S. when she was 3 years old and lived in New Mexico. He said he was a child when authorities took her away in a black car in the early 1940s.


State of play: Cortez Masto is the nation’s only Latina senator and she’s made defending young immigrants known as DREAMers key to her campaign.

  • During the GOP primary, Laxalt’s campaign spent around $13,000 running radio ads in Elko and Las Vegas touting his opposition to DREAMer protections.
  • As Nevada’s attorney general, he joined a lawsuit against the federal government over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
  • DACA is the Obama-era policy that has shielded from deportation over 800,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
  • Laxalt’s campaign has likened the policy to amnesty for illegal immigrants.


Rarely do undocumented immigrants today have the same options. They’re usually deported before they try to fix their status, Astrid Silva, a DREAMer activist in Las Vegas, tells Axios.

  • Amy Maldonado, an immigration lawyer in Michigan, says it’s hard to know whether Laxalt’s grandmother today would be deported, because so much is unknown about her status, but immigration rules have gotten more restrictive.
  • “Why doesn’t he want people today to have the same benefits that his own grandmother got?” Maldonado tells Axios.

Flashback: Domenici disclosed in 2013 he was the father of Laxalt, a child born in the 1970s to the 24-year-old daughter of one of his Senate colleagues.

  • “I only got to know my dad, the late Senator Pete Domenici as an adult, and I came to respect his remarkable commitment to this nation,” Laxalt said when he launched his unsuccessful bid for governor in 2017.