MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After being in the United States for 17 years and graduating from Ridgeway High School, Miguel Garcia is Christian Brothers University bound. His family moved here from Mexico when he was 1.
"This has given me my life. This has given me the option to study business law and political science. This has given me a chance to be someone," he said.
He's one of thousands a part of DACA , or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects people who came to America as children from being deported, and it's one of several immigration policies at risk of being changed under the current presidency.
"These were children when they were brought here and they did not make any choices to come here illegally, and I believe that they deserve a chance," said Josh Metcalf, the Latino Memphis program coordinator.
Which is why he and about 40 others, including students, with Latino Memphis are protesting outside the Tennessee Republican Party's Statesmen Dinner Thursday night in Nashville. Vice President Mike Pence is the keynote speaker, and they're hoping to send him a message about many of these immigrants facing deportation.
"They're just as American as I am," Metcalf said, adding these kids want to thrive here and aren't asking for a handout but are now scared of what's next.
"Fear, mainly, fear and how that gives my parents trauma. No one wants to be taken out of a place they basically grew up in," DACA student Chantel Barcenas said.
They say they hope to show other minority groups they're not alone, and even if the vice president only looks at their signs for a second, they're happy to have the chance to speak out.
The group says they do plan on coming back to Memphis Thursday night. If you want to get involved or help out Latino Memphis, head over to their website.