Emboldened by President Barack Obama's executive action that allows some illegal immigrants to apply for work permits, a group of illegal immigrants on the "Undocu-Bus" arrived in Charlotte during the week of the Democratic National Convention to advocate for broader amnesty programs.
The activists participated in a march on Sunday and are being hosted at a church eight miles from Charlotte.
The Spanish words "Sin Papeles, Sin Miedo” are painted on the bus, which translate into "No papers, no fear."
Fernando Lopez, an illegal immigrant on the bus, told NPR
that they had been traveling for a month through states like Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia and the bus, which he said was "just a bit of civil disobedience," has "gotten a lot of attention."
"Were not here to beg or to ask, like we have been doing for many years, for immigration reform," he said. "We're here to put an option to President Obama on the table, which is to be on the right side of history."
Maria Cruz Ramírez, another illegal immigrant on the bus, said she has been more vocal after states (like Arizona and Alabama) have passed tougher immigration laws. She said the group met with black civil rights leaders and has adopted a more “uncompromising message” as a result.
After Obama's instituted his deferred action program, illegal immigrant activists have demanded more. For instance, California lawmakers last week sent to Gov. Jerry Brown a bill that would allow illegal immigrants who get temporary work permits via the deferred action program to receive driver's licenses.
Obama barely won North Carolina in 2008. And if he is to win the state again, he needs Hispanic voters in North Carolina to help him carry the state, and Democrats hope playing up illegal immigration and amnesty issues will help organize North Carolina's Hispanic voters to go to the polls in November.
Photo credit: Firedoglake