CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Protesters gathered outside the Mecklenburg County Jail Thursday evening to rally for immigration reform. The rally is targeted towards ICE and local law enforcement who partner together. Advocates say that results in separating families through deportation.
Luis Arco has lived and worked in Charlotte for 14 years; he has three U.S. citizen-children ages 9, 4 and 1, and in October he might have to leave them for good after being stopped for running a red light
"It was my bad. I crossed a red light; he told me my driver license is expired. I crossed a red light. I'm a criminal for him, he take me to jail," said Arco.
Arco had a valid driver’s license from 2000 to 2010 but in 2007 the state stopped allowing undocumented immigrants to renew without a social security number.
"Always I try to be a good citizen, always I try to follow all the rules," said Arco.
Immigration law 287g allows local law enforcement to arrest and hold non-citizens in jail based on their status.
Sheriff Chipp Bailey says his department doesn't abuse the law by profiling on the streets.
"For me, the 287g is nothing more than a way to identify people who are coming in, being brought into the jail [who] we might not be able to identify," said Sheriff Bailey.
But Arco says he had identification and no criminal past and now he's facing deportation.
"If the government say I have to go, I'll follow the rules but I'm going alone; I don't want to take my family because it’s like taking the opportunities of my children," said Arco
Arco is due back in immigration court in October when they are expected to make a ruling if he has to leave the country.