NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- The President's executive order on immigration has sparked protests, as well as support, from all over the country.
In Newport News, there are refugee families that are also keeping a close eye on what's going on.
Angelo Maker, a refugee from South Sudan has been in America since 2001 and by now, considers himself an American after becoming a legal citizen. His passport, however, still lists his home country as Sudan.
"I do everything every other American does," he said.
It's been years of hard for Angelo to be able to say that. He fled a country that was torn by war.
"I lost my mother and two brothers who were executed before me," he told 13News Now.
Angelo came to the United States with one pair of shoes and the clothes on his back to chase the American dream, with people like Anya Perreault lending a hand.
"When I look at how hard Angelo works, how hard all of them work, every single one of them, it just gives me such encouragement to do the same," she said. She's known Angelo for 10 years, when a group she's a part of helped refugees from South Sudan.
Fast-forward to 2017. Angelo has a master's degree from Regent University, is married with children, and is involved with building a high school in his home country and that's why he's telling his story amidst controversy over the President's executive order on immigration.
"For people who might see refugees as people who are just roaming or have a hidden agenda, that's not true. Those people have left some extreme situations, searching for a life and are innocent like any other in the community," said Angelo.
"They're incredibly hard working. Most of them are incredibly hard working. These are people who have spent their entire lives working their tails off just to survive," said Megan Oravetz, who works with a group of people in Hampton Roads that helps refugees.
Angelo said he understands the argument made by supporters of both sides on the executive order, but he wants people to know, refugees like him are just pursuing the American dream so they, too, can be like everyone else.
"I'm living the American dream. I've become a part of the community. I'm working. I'm paying taxes. I'm like any other American," he said.