CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- He's been in the country since he was 2-years -old. Now, a 22-year-old CPCC graduate is about to be deported for being an illegal immigrant.
A grassroots organization is fighting to keep him here. The North Carolina Dream Team is hosting a vigil at St. Peter's Catholic Church in uptown.
A simple drive home from the gym may have changed Erick Velazquillo's life forever.
I was pulled over for having my high beams on, he said.
The traffic stop meant the 22-year-old was also caught with an expired license. He hasn't been able to legally renew it since 2006 because he is an undocumented immigrant.
I never thought I would be in this kind of situation, said Velazquillo.
Though his family came to the U.S. when he was just 2-years-old, the graduate of South Mecklenburg High is now facing deportation.
I lived my life pretty much like a normal American kid so the thought of me being deported never crossed my mind, he said.
The only people he knows back in Mexico are his elderly grandparents.
It was tough knowing that you're in this situation and you ve lived your entire life here and now you have the chance of actually getting deported and now you have to go back to a country you don t know about. It's really hard, said Velazquillo.
His older sister helped hook him up with a group called the North Carolina Dream Team. It is mostly college students dedicated to helping young undocumented immigrants stay in the country.
Anglica Velazquillo said, To live in a place that s been your home and its safe and all of a sudden you find yourself being treated as a criminal, it s very devastating.
We talked with the president of the group NC Listen, an immigration reform group.
Ron Woodard says it's not that they want to see anyone deported but that just because someone s been here since they were a child does not mean they deserve special privileges.
Velazquillo is scheduled to go before a judge on July 19th. That is when he'll find out if he can stay or will be deported.