Despite that, they said they want to attend North Carolina public colleges while paying in-state tuition and were willing to take the risk of a public demonstration.
"There's always some type of danger with coming out about your immigration status publicly, but it's more dangerous to stay in the shadows," explained Moises Serrano of Yadkin County.
The group rallied in the shadow of the state education building to call for support of House Bill 904. It would allow undocumented students who graduate from North Carolina high schools, and live in the state for two years, to pay in-state rates for college.
But some don't think that's fair.
"Every illegal alien that goes to college in the United States is gonna disenfranchise some American who wants to go to college," offered Ron Woodard with the group NC Listen.
Woodard said legal citizens shouldn't lose their chance to receive limited financial aid that might go to students like the ones gathered in Raleigh. The bill's sponsor says the parents of those at the rally decided to bring them to America, so the students shouldn't be penalized. But he says he's been told the bill won't pass this year.
Some legislator's minds won't be changed by the young people demonstrating Wednesday.
"If not, we will remember come election time. It's an election year next year," said Serrano.
And he says in Yadkin County, he and others have registered 5,000 voters.