PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Hundreds gathered in Painesville to raise money, and awareness, for so-called "Dreamers," still waiting to hear about their immigration status.
This isn't your typical backyard barbecue.
There are more than 800,00 Dreamers in the US, many of them right here in Northeast Ohio.
Like Patricia Mendez, a Lakeland College student who came here to the United States with her mother at age 3.
She said she didn't know she was undocumented until she was in high school.
She wants to use her voice to help others.
"We're trying to spread we want the DA to pass because we feel like we're Americans we should be here and get an opportunity," Mendez said.
The Ohio Dreamers have organized, they're fundraising to send local Dreamers to DC to talk with legislators about DACA.
"That was an act that was rescinded by Donald Trump this year so it affects undocumented immigrants who were protected by this act and they risk deportation because they were not able to renew their permits to be here," Ambassador for Ohio Dreamers Chloe Britton said.
So they're partying with a purpose. Many stopped by just to fill out postcards to send to local leaders in Washington, words of support.
"Various comments even kids just signing their names and people just paragraphs to say how this impacting their kids or even themselves," Juan Arias said.
While some Dreamers are here, there are many in the area, who are too afraid to come out.
"A lot of people have the fear of deportation so it holds them back from speaking up but we're trying to invite everybody to not be afraid and just really come out and speak their voice," Britton said.
So these Ohio Dreamers are encouraging others to stand in unity for a common goal.
"Get to know a dreamer, everyone's different, everyone comes from different faiths and they have different values. We just want the best for America but we want to be a part of that too," Mendez said.