DACA advocates rally at Tillis' downtown Raleigh office

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018
DACA supporters rally in Raleigh
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DACA supporters rallied Tuesday outside Sen. Thom Tillis' Raleigh office.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Dozens of DACA recipients and their supporters again rallied outside Sen. Thom Tillis' office urging him to help pass a clean Dream Act.

The current legislation ends in less than two months.

Maria Gonzalez, 19, goes to Wake Tech Community College and could learn her fate mid-semester.

"Will I go back to a country where I'm not that great at the language, where I don't know everything, where I don't really have family? I have a grandmother, but that's about it," said Gonzalez. "It's starting life all over again and I've worked for so long to build what I have here, and it's terrifying, it gives me anxiety."

Tillis was not in Raleigh for this rally. He was in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

The protest in downtown Raleigh comes one day after a heated day on Capitol Hill.

The 69-hour government shutdown ended Monday night after Republicans agreed to debate immigration reform.

Tillis' office said in a statement:

"Senator Tillis has been a leader in offering a merit-based solution for the DACA-eligible population, introducing the SUCCEED Act last year. Senator Tillis looks forward to continue working with his Republican and Democratic colleagues on a DACA-border security compromise that will be signed into law."

Undocumented families feel they became a bargaining chip in a political game.

Republicans and Democrats are hoping to reach a DACA deal by February 8, when the temporary spending plan signed Monday night by President Donald Trump expires.

Trump tweeted Tuesday: "Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying....with a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security. The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!"

While lawmakers work toward a resolution, the community group El Pueblo said families are living in fear.

"It just breaks my heart to see little kids who are coming home getting off the bus wondering if their parents are going to be home because of everything that is going on," said El Pueblo Community Organizer Iliana Santilla-Carillo. "The whole situation is definitely very chaotic not just for the students who benefit from DACA, but also from the families who have nothing else."