CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Concord is the only home Concepcion Torres has ever known. Her parents brought her family to the Charlotte area from Mexico when she was 2 years old, and she wouldn t know the first thing about living as a Mexican if she went back.

I've been here all my life, so I still want to continue living here, she said.

Her two children, ages 3 and 9 months, are U.S. citizens. Her two brothers and a sister are citizens. Her parents will be soon.

In her mind, she is an American. But like millions of other immigrants, her paperwork doesn t say so.

She is living, working, and driving because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program and Saturday, more than 300 immigrants and their supporters marched up Central Avenue into uptown to call for its expansion.

We re asking the president to expand deferred action for everybody, said Elver Barrios of the Latin American Coalition.

While DACA has helped Torres, it could help her husband even more. Alejandro Lopez, 24, is in danger of being deported. Expansion would allow him to get a driver s license and work permit. Right now, he is fighting to stay in the country so his young family can stay together.

Not knowing that he's not going come home someday frightens me, a lot, she said.

She said she understood the risks of marrying another undocumented immigrant and starting a family. If she hadn t married the father of her children, her family could sponsor her for citizenship, which would help.

Her only other choice is to move with her husband and children back to Mexico a country that s not home.

Her family is just one of many with a story like this one. There are few choices.

There is no process like that, there is no such thing as a line, said Barrios, who helped organize the rally. People say go back to the line, wait your turn, but there's no line to go to.

Barrios said immigrants want more comprehensive immigration reform that helps them. The U.S. Senate has passed a reform bill, but the U.S. House hasn t. Congress has until August to come to an agreement, said Barrios, but that President Obama can issue an executive order that helps them sooner.

Barrios hopes rallies like the one Saturday urge the President to help.
He knows what to do, he just hasn't done it yet, he said.

Read or Share this story: