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Immigrant advocates staging walk from Charlotte to Raleigh

Hector Vaca, Charlotte director of Action NC, is part of a core group that will make the entire trip from Charlotte to Raleigh, which will include breaks in cities along the way.
Hector Vaca, Charlotte director of Action NC, is part of a core group that will make the entire trip from Charlotte to Raleigh, which will include breaks in cities along the way. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

Immigrant advocates will gather early Sunday at Uptown’s Marshall Park to begin what could be a nearly two-week “relay walk” from Charlotte to Raleigh, where they intend to gather outside the Governor’s office on Nov. 20.

Hundreds of immigrants and their allies are expected to participate in different legs of the 170-mile trip, including people on foot and on bikes.

The goal, say organizers, is to prompt a debate among voters over whether North Carolina should be joining more than two dozen other states in a lawsuit against President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration, which prioritized deporting undocumented felons over undocumented families.

The presidential action, instituted a year ago, also calls for allowing certain undocumented immigrants to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

Immigrant advocacy groups like Action N.C. support the executive order and want Gov. Pat McCrory to pull North Carolina out of the group lawsuit.

Hector Vaca, Charlotte director of Action NC, is part of a core group that will make the entire trip from Charlotte to Raleigh, which will include breaks in cities along the way.

Vaca says the walk is open to anyone who wants to participate. Vans will be on hand Sunday to return those who make the first four-mile leg of the hike – from Marshall Park to the intersection of North Tryon Street and East W.T. Harris Boulevard – back to their cars.

“In North Carolina, if all 152,000 people eligible for deferred action were to get it, this would mean a $6,588,000,000 cumulative increase in state Gross Domestic Product,” said Vaca. “The average annual number of jobs created would be 830 and the cumulative increase in earnings for all NC residents would reach $3,283,000,000.”

Restaurant owner Maura Trejo will also be among those Charlotteans participating in part of the walk. She says it feels as if immigrants have been under “attack” from state leaders.

“Three years ago, I opened my pizzeria, in order to provide for my family,” she says. “We work hard and help stimulate the local economy. We create jobs, pay our taxes, are members of our local chamber of commerce, and are active in our community. We love this country. Governor McCrory needs to recognize how much immigrants contribute to this country, instead of stop attacking us.”

How to participate

Action NC, Familias Unidas and other immigrant allies will gather 10 am, Sunday, Nov. 8, at Marshall Park, 800 E. 3rd Street. A rally will be held, then participants will make a four-mile walk to the intersection of North Tryon Street and East W.T. Harris Boulevard, where vans will help transport them back to their cars at Marshall Park.

Another group of participants will then continue the journey onto Concord. The public is welcome to join the relay, which will include many people on bikes.

Details: Hector Vaca hector@actionnc.org or 704-625-4050.

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