Maria Lopez says as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, she knows there are some who think she does not belong in the United States.
"In general, I know the sentiments that people have, and it hurts because this is all I've known," said Lopez, a Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson volunteer. "I grew up here, I don't remember where I'm from, and I think that the U.S. is my home country."
DACA lets undocumented immigrants who came to America as kids stay in the country. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says there are about 690,000 active DACA recipients in the country. Lopez, along with 50 others, were up before the sun to get on a bus to Washington, D.C., and advocate for keeping the program in place, since it's being phased out.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions labeled the program unconstitutional, an overreach by former President Barack Obama, to start DACA without Congress's stamp of approval. But the group Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson says the overreach is making assumptions about immigrants in society.
"I'm your neighbor. I'm your friend," said community organizer Alfredo Pacheco. "Sometimes, you know, I used to coach kids, so I was the coach of the kids. I did a lot of stuff for a lot of people here. And right now in this moment, it's very difficult to feel like that, feel unwelcome in a place where you did your life."
The protesters join with thousands of others from across the country for their fight at the Capitol.