RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --Undocumented and Unafraid - that's the message immigrants sent Saturday afternoon as they rallied at the North Carolina State Capitol.
"We come here to do work that Americans don't want to do," said Alondra Pahuamba, who came to the U.S. from Mexico with her parents when she was just four months old. "Paid very poorly, and with a lot of racism."
Pahuamba wept as she remembered recent harassment at a Raleigh stop light.
"And he was like 'You guys go back to Mexico. You guys don't belong here, you illegals,'" Pahuamba shared. "Just imagine. We didn't do anything wrong!"
Some of the people speaking Saturday have never before come forward in a public forum. However, they felt strongly enough about the issue to expose themselves to potential deportation.
"I am afraid that everything we have worked hard for will come to an end," Pahuamba explained. "I've gone to school here, I've learned the language, my parents have learned the language! They've worked, they're used to getting the money that they provide for us."
Durham's Wildin Acosta spoke in Spanish about his seven months of detention after federal agents removed him from his high school.
On a January morning in 2016, ICE agents took the then 18-year-old Acosta into custody as he was leaving for school. Soon after, he ended up in a detention center in Georgia, awaiting word of deportation. Acosta was released on bond in August 2016.
READ MORE: Durham teen released from immigration detention center
Now, some fear similar aggressive responses from President Donald Trump's administration.
"I am undocumented, I am not a bad person," said Michelle Valladarez. "I am not a criminal, I am not uneducated. And I am also here, still, because I want to fight for my siblings."
Participants in Saturday's demonstration hope to be seen as hard workers willing to help those who have managed to enter the country, with or without proper documentation.
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