Former New Mexico senator, father of Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt has died
Pete Domenici, the longest-serving senator from the most Hispanic state in the United States, kept his family's immigration experience private for years, has died at the age of 85.
In one of his last speeches as a senator, the New Mexico Republican told his colleagues in 2007 that his deceased mother had been an immigrant from Italy in the U.S. illegally. She had been briefly detained by federal agents during World War II.
The Republican recounted on the Senate floor how as a child he wept during his mother's absence. It was a story that shocked his Senate colleagues, including U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat.
Domenici said his experience convinced him to introduce legislation granting immigrants in the country illegally a pathway to citizenship. The bill failed.
In October 2007, the senator announced that he would not seek a seventh term after he was diagnosed with an incurable brain disorder.
Domenici was the father of Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.
“I am profoundly saddened by the passing of my father," Laxalt said in a statement. "He leaves behind a wonderful, talented, and loving family. He was a great man who I will dearly miss.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.