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Clinton Ad With Latina Girl Hits Emotional Issue Of Deportations

Image: Karla Ortiz

Karla Ortiz, 10, and her meeting with Hillary Clinton are featured in ad released by the Clinton campaign. Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News

LAS VEGAS -- A new ad released by the Hillary Clinton camp focuses on a young girl, Karla Ortiz, and the fear of losing her parents.

Karla, 10, told Clinton of her parents' deportation order when the candidate made a Valentine's Day trip back to Las Vegas after rearranging her schedule. Polls began to show the Nevada race is tightening, in part because of growing Latino support for Bernie Sanders.

The emotional moment, with Clinton sitting the young girl on her lap, gives Clinton a chance to show her mother and grandmother side, something she's been more willing to show in this election.

"I'm going to do everything I can so you don't have to be scared and you don't have to worry too much about your mom or your dad or somebody else in your family," Clinton says in the commercial.

California Carpenters Rally for Hillary in Nevada 1:17

Clinton has developed immigration proposals that include going further than Obama in using executive action to expand deportation relief to other immigrants in the U.S. without legal status, particularly parents of Dreamers. Obama has only attempted to grant that legal status to parents of U.S. citizen and legal resident children. (That effort is tied up in court.)

But the ad also could renew criticism Clinton has been taking on what's been a mixed bag of a subject for her when it comes to some in the Latino community - President Barack Obama's deportation policies and her position on them.

The two candidates were to participate in an MSNBC/Telemundo town hall at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 6 p.m. local, from Las Vegas and moderated by NBC's Chuck Todd and Jose Diaz-Balart. Sanders was go first (which was determined by a coin toss), and Clinton second.

Clinton has had to face criticism for a previously-stated view that children from Central America who were arriving in droves to the U.S. border in the spring and summer of 2014 should be sent back. She's softened that view somewhat since then, but the statement was raised several times by Bernie Sanders supporters who spoke to NBC News Latino in the days before Saturday's caucus.

The release of the ad Thursday coincides with the Sanders' campaign's deployment of a cadre of Dreamer canvassers who can't vote but will ask others to turn out to Saturday's caucus for Sanders.

The Latino community in Nevada went 2-to-1 for Hillary Clinton in 2008, according to Pew Research Center, but eight years later she's in a tough fight with Sanders - who hails from the overwhelmingly white state of Vermont - for the Latino vote in the first nomination race contest in a state with a diverse population.

Young Latinos in Nevada Feel the Bern 1:02

But all the politics mattered little to Karla when she met Clinton. The focus of the young girl who is an American citizen was on the powerful woman who could be president one day.

"Possibly she'll be the one that will be president for right now, but I hope she does, because if she be the president she'll be more powerful than Donald Trump," Karla told NBC earlier this week after her meeting with Clinton when the video used for the ad was made. If Clinton has more powerful, said the little girl, "she can help us."

"I'm proud that I finally met the lady that might be the president. I'm going to be a lawyer, but if she's still gonna to be the president, I would love to meet her in the White House and I could explain to her all the thank yous, she needs to have love," Karla said.

Karla said she didn't know about Bernie Sanders and would research him. She said she hadn't decided who she would vote for if she could vote because she doesn't know anything about Sanders.

Meanwhile, Karla said she prays every night at her bed for her parents and Clinton: "I have a Guadalupe and I go to her and I cry."

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