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Family an example of immigration done correctly

  • Joao and Angie Sequeira on their wedding day. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
    Joao and Angie Sequeira on their wedding day. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Published September 20. 2016 02:47PM

Matt Guedes, who was born to immigrants to America, shares his family’s story.

I generally write all my articles based upon hunting and the outdoors.

I have never written an article that has any political persuasion; not because I don’t have an opinion or because I am ashamed of that opinion, but because I have recognized a long time ago that it is often difficult to have influence to change minds without a strong relationship.

Social media is a great tool, but it often sparks debate without relationship.

This morning I spent a few hours with my aunt Angie and uncle Joao Sequeira.

They are 83 and 88 years of age respectively. We spent the morning talking about their history and life experiences.

One of the main points of the discussion was their choice to come to America. I sat amazed as I listened to them tell their story.

The aftermath of Donald Trump’s speech leads me to write this article because so many people are focusing on the wrong issues in this election year. I believe the Sequeiras’ story serves as a great testament to immigration done correctly.

Our country has always had a place for the immigrant.

In fact, at one point wasn’t everyone an immigrant other than the Native Americans? My uncle Joao decided in 1953 that he wanted to immigrate to the United States of America from Portugal.

Joao loved Portugal, and still does, but as a newly married man he had decided that his best opportunity in life would come in America.

He had gotten married to Angie in 1955 and knew he wanted to live his life in the United States.

Joao says that he was born into the world and he is a “Mundino,” a child of the world. He was now choosing as a child of the world to make America his home.

Beginning process

He began his process by going to the American Embassy in Lisbon. He was told in detail about the process, the laws, and what he would need to do if he desired to immigrate to America. Joao began working diligently on all the necessary processes and documents.

After he had made his appointments, which included legal documentation, medical examinations and vast amounts of paperwork, he returned to the American Embassy. They reviewed all of his documents and told him everything was in order. He had listened to what he was told, he read and followed the law, he made all the appropriate appointments, and he filled out all the proper paperwork. There was a procedure in place and legal requirements necessary for entrance into the United States as an immigrant, and he followed procedure properly.

The Embassy told him everything was in order and they sealed his documents in an envelope. They told him his next step would be to travel to America to hand over this sealed envelope to immigration at his entrance point in the United States.

He got on a plane on Jan. 14, 1956, and decided that as a child of the world it was now time to take up residence in America.

He flew across the sea, leaving behind all that he had known of his homeland and arrived on Jan. 15, 1956. The flight was 17 hours on Pan American and he entered in New York. He had put the time and effort into having all documentation ready for entrance into America. He landed and proceeded to immigration. His documents were in order and he was granted entrance.

After five years, he applied for citizenship. After the government’s process was complete, he was granted citizenship along with wife Angie in 1964.

Angie’s story of immigration actually preceded Joao’s process of citizenship. She received paperwork from her father and my grandfather, Agostinho Guedes, the former Light Heavyweight Champion of Portugal.

He immigrated to the United States by following all the necessary regulations to become a U.S. citizen.

Angie came to the United States, but for some reason they had never completed the proper paperwork for her to become a citizen.

She legally had the right to be a citizen, but had never done the paperwork. So when she traveled by boat to the U.S. after marrying Joao, she had to do a proper application for citizenship. The paperwork took a full year to get completed because her original paperwork was filed incorrectly.

She then became a U.S. citizen with Joao in 1964.

Family immigrates

My family immigrated to the United States. They followed the proper proceduresto not only gain entrance into the U.S., but to become U.S. citizens legally through the laws of this great country.

My father was born in Portugal and came to the U.S. at age 2. He became a citizen of the U.S. when his fatherapplied for citizenship. Our heritage is proudly Portuguese, but our family is American through and through.

One of the things that I have observed throughmy life by watching Angie and Joao is that when they chose to come here as American citizens, they not only became American on paper, but in heart. Joao may be the most “American” man I have ever met. He loves our country to a degree I have rarely seen. He has a replica of the Statue of Liberty that stands 4 feet tall in his front yard and he proudly displays the U.S. flag. Both are lighted each and every night of the year. He was born Portuguese, but he will tell you in a very proud manner that he is an American.

The Sequeiras didn’t demand that others speak their language. They pursued learning English and actually began to learn it years earlier when America was just a dream.

They didn’t talk about the way things were done in Portugal and want others in America to learn their ways.

They changed their entire life to operate smoothly under the scope of the American Way.

They didn’t demand anything in their new land, but became acclimated to the way of life that they chose to live under. They planted their life in America, got jobs, paid taxes and enjoyed their new life of living the American dream to the fullest.

Angie and Joao still cook Portuguese meals and still talk about some of their life and ways in Portugal. They haven’t left behind their heritage, but they adopted their new home and ways in the United States. It was a priority it their lives. My Aunt and Uncle are a supreme story of just how inviting this great land was and still is for those who chose to do things correctly. They have lived the American dream to the fullest and in gratitude to our great land they are proudly and boastfully American.

Immigration and politics

As the issue of immigration is dealt with on the political front, I am reminded that there are still proper laws and procedures that allow people from other countries to enter this great land when followed rightly.

Trump, although sometimes rough in how it is conveyed, is not saying no one can enter the land.

He is not saying that those who entered our country wrongly will not have the opportunity to enter it rightly.

He is simply saying that what is best for America is that we stop allowing illegal immigrants the rights of citizens and the rights of those who have entered properly.

This is not a cloudy issue at all, but an issue that is very clear and pointed.

I hope the story of my aunt and uncle sparks within you a desire to see through the spin of the media to the reality that exists for those who have and those who will do Immigration correctly.

There is not a hatred of anyone in my heart, but my love and appreciation for this great country that I live in demands that we follow the laws of the land in regards to immigration no matter where someone has resided. If we don’t do so, grim realities beyond what we have seen already exist for our future.

Matt Guedes was born to Manny and Jean Guedes in 1968 and lived in Palmerton until he left for the U.S. Army in 1991. He is a 1987 graduate of Palmerton Area High School and 1991 graduate of Dickinson College in Carlisle. Matt has lived the past 10 years in Mesa, Colorado, where he is a pastor and owner of Journey Hunts, taking hunters to destinations around the world.

He is a freelance outdoor writer, and also is a business consultant.

He is married for 22 years to Kelley (McHugh) Guedes of Summit Hill and they have three children, Tekoah, 16; Baylee, 15; and Hollis, 13.

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