WASHINGTON, Beaufort County - Over 100 people gathered for what they are calling "A Night for Dreamers."
People in our area are rallying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. There are over 27,000 in our state enrolled in DACA who face an uncertain future as the program is phased out. One of Monday night's DACA recipients, who came to Beaufort County when she was just 6, was scheduled to share her story at the event.
"In high school, I was on the university path taking honors, AP classes, and then everybody's applying for college but I can't," said Carolina Vega.
Then she received her DACA status. Vega is now in school, on her way to landing her dream job as an accountant. She was sharing her story at Monday's rally in hopes of educating people on what DACA has done for her and many others.
"My best friend, she didn't know what DACA was," Vega said. "It affects me, and she cares about me, but she doesn't know how this program works.
"If she's my friend and she doesn't know, obviously there's a lot more people like her that have no idea what DACA is or what it did."
At almost 25, Vega is now married with a daughter. She said Beaufort County is the only home she knows.
"I would not know what to do if I had to move back. At all," Vega said.
Attila Nemecz, who heads Beaufort County Indivisible and also works for Beaufort County Community College is one of the organizers for Monday's rally along with the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina. She said she felt it was necessary for the community to show support.
"These are our friends, our coworkers, people we've known," Nemecz said. "And this is the only home they've known. These are young people here that have grown up in Beaufort County, so we think it's important for us to stand up for them."
Vega said she pays taxes every year, pays out-of-state tuition at school and has to take days off just to renew her DACA status.
"It does get expensive, it all does," Vega said. "And a lot of us are willing to pay that price as long as we're allowed to go to school here, allowed to work, allowed to continue living here."
Vega said she hopes sharing her story will clear up misconceptions people have about immigrants and DACA recipients.