• Students head to Capitol Hill to push for immigration reform

    By: Blair Miller


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A group of Charlotte students is on its way to Capitol Hill on Tuesday night.

    They plan to demonstrate Wednesday and push for immigration reform.

    They are the voices of young Charlotte adults, some separated from family members who have been deported and they are taking their stories to the nation's capital.

    Armando Cruz-Martinez was born in the United States and so were his brothers and sisters, but his father was deported from Charlotte three years ago, and Armando was left to choose: go back to Mexico with his family or stay in Charlotte to continue high school.

    He stayed, but he has not seen his family since then.

    "It was really difficult because I felt alone all the time and I felt very depressed. I just didn't think there was anything I could do. I mean I really just didn't have hope for anything," he said.

    Armando is still fighting for that hope now with other young adults from a Charlotte Latino Group, "United for the Dream."

    On Tuesday the group left for Washington, D.C., where they plan to meet on Wednesday with North Carolina representatives in Congress and Urge them to take leadership on immigration reform and specifically develop a path to citizenship and keep families together.

    Isabel Chavez said their message to lawmakers is clear.

    "The immigration system is broken and needs change and for those congressmen that love their families, why you are going to separate our families," said Chavez.

    For Armando, his fight is no longer just about his family, but instead the many others.

    "This affects so many people and it is not just a policy. It's not just words on a paper or an act they'll pass and then just forget about it. It's about people's lives and people's futures," he said.

    The group plans to return to Charlotte on Saturday and march in uptown.

    They hope to raise awareness about the need for immigration reform.

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