September 01, 2012
Originally Published at WBTV
Undocumented immigrants traveling cross country to join protestors at the Democratic National Convention say "life as an undocumented person is not easy."
WBTV met Undocu-Bus... the bus bringing undocumented immigrants... as it makes it way to Charlotte. Organizers say about 37 people are coming to the DNC, 34 of whom are in the country illegally.
24 year old Natally Cruz says she and her aunt crossed the border from Mexico to America in 1996 because her aunt believed they would have a better life in the U-S.
When asked how would she respond to people who say it's too much money on taxpayers to support undocumented immigrants, Cruz says "every time I hear something I would say put yourself in my situation. How would you feel to be identified everyday for being undocumented? How would your life be to be like me."
She says, "we pay taxes all the time. We go grocery shopping - we pay taxes. Anywhere we go we pay taxes. So I don't understand where they're coming from that we're burdening the system."
Cruz and the others on Undocu-bus left Phoenix at the end of July. The bus made stops in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Georgia. After doubling back through Tennessee, it arrived in North Carolina.
They say the bus has not been stopped by police. Riders are spending the night in Asheville and will leave for Charlotte on Saturday.
Organizers say they stop and hold rallies in communities where local residents tell them police and federal agents conduct traffic stops and check immigration status. On Friday the group held a protest outside the Jackson County Sheriff's office.
WBTV asked Gloria Esteva what does she say to people who will say she's in the country illegally and doesn't have the right to protest? Esteva says "we're not here to cause to any problems - only here to work."
Undocu-bus riders says their reasons for coming to the DNC is to put a face on immigration, and to try and stop deportations.
The man driving the bus to Charlotte - Juan Lozano - is a legal resident who once was undocumented. He says the people on board Undocu-Bus "are just looking for justice, for dignity." When asked if he's afraid of getting pulled over, Juan says "I never think about that."
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