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The threat of taco Trucks taking on every corner is coming close to being true in Las Vegas before the third presidential debate — where opponents of GOP nominee Donald Trump plan to create a "wall" of them in front of the Trump International Las Vegas hotel Wednesday.
"We did not come up with the idea for the wall, Donald Trump came up with building the wall," said Yvanna Cancela, the political director of the Culinary Workers Union 226 in Las Vegas. "We want to show him that walls don’t divide us, and rather what he has done is uniting us. And when I say 'us,' I mean it as in every group that Trump has vilified: Muslims, women, immigrants and workers. We are all coming together to make sure that Donald Trump never becomes president."
Trump has pledged to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and to force Mexico to pay for it if elected president, one of his proposals that has riled many Latino Americans.
Taco trucks became part of the 2016 election after a Trump supporter warned in an interview with MSNBC's Joy Ann Reid that the expansion of the Latino culture in the U.S. would lead to "taco trucks on every corner." The comment drew backlash but also was mocked by Trump opponents and taco lovers who said they'd welcome taco trucks on every corner.
Nevada's influential Culinary Workers Union, which has worked throughout the election cycle to register voters, partnered with a coalition of local, state-level and national organizations to coordinate voter registration efforts throughout Las Vegas Tuesday — the state's voter registration deadline.
Over 50 volunteers and 35 taco trucks are parked throughout Las Vegas drawing in potential eligible voters, according to Kevin McAlister, spokesperson for American Bridge. The bilingual effort aims to register as many Latino voters in the state before the deadline passes.
The union also is staging the line of taco trucks to draw attention to labor disputes it has with Trump.
"While we will have taco trucks, the reason we are out there is for the last year now Trump has illegally refused to bargain with workers who won a union election at his hotel," Cancela said. "The biggest message we have sent to him is he needs to come to the negotiation table."
Pili Tobar, the communications director of Latino Victory Project, said volunteers and patrons of the taco trucks are energized for the election.
"Having these taco trucks around, having music playing and at the same time registering people to vote — and obviously people here want to vote against Donald Trump — there is a celebration of culture happening," Tobar said. "It is a really interesting mix of emotions, and people are excited and having fun with it."
"Latino Victory works with partners throughout the country to empower the Latino community, and Nevada is one of our top targets," Tobar continued.
Over a dozen groups coordinated efforts Tuesday and Wednesday to register voters and build the wall: American Bridge, America’s Voice, Battle Born Progress, Center for Community Change Action, Forward, For Our Future, iAmerica Action, Latino Victory Project, Next Gen Climate Nevada, the Nevada State AFL-CIO, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Votes, Mi Familia Vota, Move On, and She Wins We Win.
Separately, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been urging taco truck vendors to register Latinos to vote and coordinating media coverage when they do so.