Orlando resident Lucas da Silva arrived in San Francisco today to begin a walk across the country for the DREAM Act and fairer immigration policies as a member of Campaign for an American DREAM (CAD).
People across the country have called for fair and humane immigration reform. On March 10th, the Campaign’s walk will start at the Golden Gate Bridge to bring these conversations to various communities on their eight-month journey to Washington, D.C.
“I’m walking 3,000 miles for the ones I love, for the community that fears, for the DREAMers who despair, for the parents who have shed tears, and for the victims of discrimination,” Silva said. “I walk for the thousands who can and the thousands who can’t, for the students of the present and the generations of the future. I walk across the nation for a DREAM, one that was started by a great man, Martin Luther King, Jr. I walk for the people.”
Silva came to New York City from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil when he was 12 years old. He and his family moved from New York after the 9/11 attacks and he graduated from Dr. Philips High School in Orlando in 2006. He is currently enrolled at Valencia College and, after the walk, will return to pursue his studies in Political Science and Philosophy.
Silva did not know until his 15th birthday that he was not an American citizen. He was excited to pursue his driver’s permit until his parents informed him of what his undocumented status meant. Nearing the end of his high school career, he was wrongly told by his counselor that he could not attend college, leaving him with uncertainty about his future.
Silva worked in retail for the next five years of his life, earning money in the underground economy of so many other undocumented workers who were unable to pursue a higher education. Two years ago his father was arrested and detained by Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) for driving without a valid driver’s license. After spending ten months in prison, his father was deported back to Brazil, leaving Lucas in his family in despair.
“I cannot sit idly by as we are oppressed by the current immigration laws that are separating our families and destroying the hopes of our youth,” he said. “Tried of lying, hiding, running, and crying, I choose to fight for the people who suffer.”