A busload of undocumented immigrants has departed for Charlotte, on its way to protest during the Democratic National Convention.
The occupants will risk deportation to demonstrate in Mecklenburg County, where sheriff’s deputies check the immigration status of people who are arrested. The group will join hundreds of other illegal immigrants who could march during the convention, protest organizers said.
Some 30 men and women left Sunday from Phoenix on a multistate tour that will cut through states such as Alabama and Georgia that have passed some of the nation’s toughest immigration laws. The bus will arrive in Charlotte just before the Democratic National Convention starts in September.
The bus riders say they plan to use “civil disobedience” to draw attention to law-enforcement tactics they view as unfairly targeting them.
But the bus tour prompted harsh criticism from the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for stricter enforcement.
“This is militant in-your-face defiance of the rule of law,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the group. “This is the chaos of nonenforcement of immigration from the top down.”
Julio Salgado, 28, is an undocumented immigrant who came to the United States from Mexico and now lives in Berkeley, Calif. He said he plans to join the bus tour that left Phoenix on Sunday.
The tour will help immigrants to “take control of the narratives,” Salgado said. “A lot of the times the right-wing … types keep on creating this sort of picture of undocumented immigrants as this criminal who is going to turn this country to a third-world country.”