The Da Silva family came to America 23 years ago on a temporary visa. Lucas Da Silva was twelve months old at the time and was several years later blessed with a sister. Although living in America illegally, the Da Silva's lives would forever change in 2009.
In 2009 Lucas' father was deported back to Brazil. By all accounts the Da Silva family worked hard and enjoyed all the benefits of being American citizens. The Da Silva family embraced our American culture, but willfully violated our immigration laws.
When the Da Silva's temporary visa expired the family had only two choices. Return to Brazil or remain in America illegally. The Da Silva's chose to stay in America fully aware the consequences from that decision would impact their son and daughter. The parents chose to live the life of illegal aliens for reasons only known to them.
The Da Silva's first real hard choice came knocking at their door in 2009 when Mr. Da Silva was deported back to Brazil. The Da Silva Family now had two difficult choices to choose from.
1. The entire family could return to Brazil with the father and remain intact.
2. The mother, son, and daughter would remain in America and proceed with their lives as illegal immigrants surviving in a fatherless household.
The Da Silva Family chose option two, with both eyes open, accepting all the hardships that decision would carry with it.
PICO - People Involved Through Community Organizing
I met Lucas Da Silva at a 1/29/2013 press conference sponsored by The Campaign For Citizenship and the People Involved Through Community Organizing (PICO).
Mr. Da Silva is listed as the main contact and DREAM Leader. The title for the press conference was "Clergy, Community Leaders Welcome President Obama's Commitment to Change, Call For Citizenship."
Mr. Da Silva was the leader of the press conference and its official spokesperson. In the press package the Campaign for Citizenship listed their main "Goal" as,
"We demand full citizenship for all Americans regardless of race, income or immigration status. President Obama and Congress should move immediately to make citizenship legislation a top priority for 2013 and to make citizenship for all Americans the focus of that legislation."
Roadmap To Citizenship
The Campaign for Citizenship and Mr. Lucas Da Silva are working to make the 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States full citizens who will enjoy the rights and benefits afforded all current legal United States citizens.
In my interview with Mr. Da Silva, he describes our current immigration system as broken. We narrowed down the discussion to how this "broken immigration system" impacted the current 11 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States, which was the target demographic for the press conference.
Mr. Da Silva articulated the current immigration system was unworkable because there was no mechanism for the 11 million illegals in the United States to petition the Immigration offices regarding their current status. The reason illegals can not petition our immigration offices for any change in their illegal status is because they run the risk of being immediately deported if they go through the federal immigration offices.
Some would argue our Immigration Offices are working just fine because it is their job to deport anyone who is in this country illegally.
The Life of Lucas Da Silva
Mr. Da Silva is 24 years old living in Orlando, FL. Mr. Da Silva attends Valencia College, without fear of being deported, through a government program called Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and is excelling in his studies. According to Mr. Da Silva's twitter page he and four friends planned a walk across America raising awareness of the problems he sees within our current United States Immigration Laws.
I asked Mr. Da Silva how he currently made his income to survive. He became somewhat uncomfortable and said "odd jobs" as many "undocumented people" must do across the country. Mr. Da Silva also told me he had never owned a business. However, on Mr. Da Silva's Linkedin page it shows his current position as "Owner/Manager at Silva Consulting LLC"
If the DACA program allows Mr. Da Silva the right to own an LLC why would he keep that fact hidden when it is something to be proud of?
Mr. Da Silva shared that when his father passed away, after being deported, none or his family members could attend the funeral, pay last respects, or visit his fathers grave.
I was profoundly saddened by the pain and suffering Lucas, his mother, and sister had to endure at the untimely passing of a parent. Mr. Da Silva used the emotionally painful story as an example of a "broken immigration system" that made it impossible for him to visit the grave of his father. This heartbreaking narrative made me feel guilty that my country could be so cold and heartless to Lucas Da Silva.
In a Associated Press article 8/25/2012 Mr. Da Silva articulates the experience of his fathers passing in Brazil this way, ""Everyone seems to agree that the current system is broken," he says. "But people don't seem to understand that it breaks families too."
I believe the emotional messaging of our "broken immigration laws" breaking up families is fueling the narrative that we as legal American citizens are cold heartless people if we do not support President Obama's "roadmap to citizenship immigration reform." Anyone who has legal or philosophical problems with President Obama's roadmap to citizenship are portrayed in the press as cold, heartless, and evil.
The United States of America is one of the most compassionate countries on earth. The American people respond with aid when another country is ravaged by natural disasters like no other. We are also a nation of laws given to us by our founding fathers that we must protect at all costs. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are the foundation for our Nation of Laws.
A Nation of Laws
The United States is a nation of laws. We have immigration laws that are open to all people who want to apply for legal citizenship, if that is there desire. Unfortunately, it is a long and often difficult process to earn the right to legal citizenship. Legal citizenship in America is not a right of the foreign born but rather a privilege.
If a foreign person truly respects the laws of this great country they will not knowingly break those laws in an effort to find a short cut in the path to legal citizenship.
As much as my heart is saddened by the stories of the 11 million illegal aliens who have managed to build productive lives in our country as illegals, it does not change the fact that they knowingly broke our laws.
When Mr. Lucas Da Silva's parents made the decision to break United States Immigration Laws by overstaying their visas over two decades ago, that decision had repercussions. In 2009, when Mr. Da Silva (father) was deported, the Da Silva family made a conscious decision to again stay in this country illegally. This time the decision to break U.S. immigration laws were Lucas Da Silva‘s and his mother.
Lucas Da Silva's immigration activism to change the laws of this land, some would say, is problematic. Should an illegal alien have the the right to lobby our elected officials to change immigration laws in favor of the Illegal alien? Others would say Mr. Da Silva is merely exercising the rights afforded to him under the 14th amendments equal protection clause.
The bottom line is that it is impossible to account for Illegal aliens because they know they are breaking United States law and remain under the radar. Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, FARC, MS 13, and others are infiltrating our country through our southern borders creating a dangerous national security problem. Lucas Da Silva and other immigration activists ignore United States national security issues at our own peril.
Instead, Lucas Da Silva tugs at our heart strings while breaking our laws and gaming our system. If Lucas Da Silva and other immigration political lobbyists truly loved the United States, they would address illegal terrorist and criminal infiltration through our southern borders rather than ignoring the issue.
Mr. Lucas Da Silva provides a compelling case study in the United States immigration debate. The American people must weigh the roadmap to citizenship versus preserving our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and our National Security.
The views expressed in the articles published in FamilySecurityMatters.org are those of the authors. These views should not be construed as the views of FamilySecurityMatters.org or of the Family Security Foundation, Inc., as an attempt to help or prevent the passage of any legislation, or as an intervention in any political campaign for public office. COPYRIGHT 2013 FAMILY SECURITY MATTERS INC.