Latino and Asian communities fast for immigration reform

Latino and Asian communities fast for immigration reform

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by AMY COWMAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @amywcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 7 at 2:13 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Latino and Asian communities came together Thursday to fight for immigration reform.

Local advocates and families impacted by deportation are joining a nationwide 'Fast for Families'.

Manuel Juarez has lived and worked in the U.S. for 13 years. He has three U.S citizen children ages 12 to 2, and in a few months he might either have to leave them and go back to Mexico, or take his family and children's future with him.

"My life is here, this country has given me so many opportunities that in Mexico I wouldn't have had," said Juarez.

Manuel is facing deportation due to one of the most hotly contested laws on immigration reform: Undocumented immigrants can no longer get valid driver’s licenses. So in 2012, Manuel was changing a tire on his car on the side of the road when a cop pulled up and asked for his license, which was expired; he was arrested and spent 45 days in jail.

"To see your kids suffer when I'm not here, since I also work at night, they think I'm not going to come home, it's something very painful," said Juarez.

Manuel's case is exactly what brought the Latino and Asian communities together to join a nationwide fast for families, hoping it might bring some attention to the need for immigration reform.

"Because of the complexity and the sheer need for this issue to be on the forefront of American conscienceness that's why we have to do something so powerful and so non violent," said Immigration Attorney Tin Nguyen.

The movement began on November 12 in D.C.; since then 20,000 immigrants have been deported, which is why they are fighting to keep families like Manuel's together.

"To see my kids, they've been growing up, in the environment that they've had to trade kids games for going to rallies and marches," said Juarez.

Now dependant on his wife and others for rides to work, Manuel hopes not only will he get to stay in the us but also one day be able to legally drive again.

"For me who's supporting my family, I simply need to go from home to work, work to home"

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