Entertainment

These Celebrities Experienced The Devastating Impact Of The US Immigration System And Are Fighting Back

The current crackdown by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on individuals who live in the United States as undocumented migrants has generated concern throughout the world. Stories of broken families and shattered hearts constantly appear on the media, and thousands of hard-working migrants tremble every time the president tweets a threat announcing a further crackdown. Some celebrities have been able to voice their concerns and share their stories of family and community separation. But let’s not forget that not everyone is afforded a voice, and that lives are being torn apart every single day! 

These are a few of the celebs who have been affected by immigration policies and who have spoken out against the separation of family and friends in a country that was founded on the principle of having open arms for new, hard-working arrivals. 

Diane Guerrero (actress, Orange is the New Black), whose parents were taken by ICE when she was a teenager

Credit: Instagram. @dianexguerrero

The actress was born in the United States from Colombian parents. When she was only 14 in 2001, a high school freshman, her parents were taken by ICE and deported back to South America due to their undocumented status. Guerrero told The Washington Post reflecting on her own experience as a teenager and what younger kids must be going through: “I remember my cries, and it’s nothing like what a 2-year-old must feel. It’s terrifying. I relied on friends and the kindness of strangers. I can only imagine how much harder it would be for children to have to rely on [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents and prison guards for comfort.”

Guerrero narrated her experiences in the book My Family Divided.

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She also told Vogue: “We need to protect our children. There are real people behind these issues: families, children’s lives at stake. I was a casualty of it. Me staying behind, living the way I did, a lot of kids go through this. We need comprehensive immigration reform so that we’re not creating this cycle of poverty and depression and everything that comes with separating a family.” What a story, and what an incredibly strong woman. 

Cardi B, who dealt with the deportation of a dear friend.

21savage / Instagram
Credit: Instagram. @iamcardib

Cardi B is famous for being outspoken and never, ever holding back (that is why we love her!). On February 4, 2019, she came in defense of her friend, British rapper 21 Savage, a British citizen who was taken by ICE because he allegedly overstayed his visa. Cardi B wrote: ““Now let me get ghetto ….and for ya d*** breath mother****** talking bout ‘sO hE nOt FrOm AtLaNta’ he grew up there,” she wrote. “His kids and family live there and BLEW UP there with the support of the community he was raised in. Thank you @21savage for being really good friend to me and @offsetyrn and always coming thru when we need you (sic).” Those who defended the rapper claim that the detention had a racial bias: perhaps his real name, Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, had something to do with it?  

Real Housewives star Teresa Giudice, whose husband was never a U.S. citizen. 

Credit: Instagram. @teresaguidice

Giudice’s husband Joe is due to be deported to Italy after being released from prison in 2018. As it happens, Joe was not aware that he was never a United States citizen, as he migrated with his parents when he was an infant. A statement released by the authorities read: “As standard practice, ICE, through its Criminal Alien Program (CAP) works with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to identify foreign-born nationals who are amenable to removal”.

We can only think of all the Latino families that are in the same boat. In the end, it is all about family. As E! News reported at the time, a source informed them that: “Teresa and Joe have no current plan in place for what to do next in their marriage, even though she is committed to finding a way to make this situation work for her family”. Joe remains in ICE custody as the legal proceedings continue. 

Stories like these break our hearts, but some celebrities are using their migratory status to raise awareness!

The Cuban singer shared how at just six years old, she left her hometown of Havana with her mother on a trip she thought would take her to Disney World. From Mexico, the singer traveled to the United States through Texas where she left on a 36-hour bus ride to Miami. Together, Cabello and her mother started off a backpack that held onto their possessions and $500. “Her goal was always to end up in the United States,” Cabello told the magazine in her retelling of the story. “When she got pregnant with me, she wanted me to be in a place where there was no ceiling to whatever I wanted to do.”

Camila Cabello’s story concerns how much her parents were willing to give up for her in order to ensure she had the best life possible.

While Cabello’s mother had been an architect in Cuba she worked in the U.S. at a Marshalls. To ensure Cabello could attend a public school of the highest quality her mother used a fake address associated with an affluent neighborhood. A year later, Cabello’s father, who is from Mexico, swam the Rio Grande to join his family. To help his family make ends meet her father washed cars at a mall. In 2016, he finally received his green card.

César Millán has also spoken up about living in fear of deportation.

Credit: Instagram. @cesarsway

The most famous dog trainer of them all, Mexican (and now an American citizen) César Millán arrived to the United States as an undocumented worker. He was just 21 and had $100 dollars with him when he crossed the border. His story is a true manifestation of the American Dream and evidences the hard-working nature of many migrants. He wrote in his book “Cesar’s Way”: “I am not ashamed to say it: I came to the United States illegally, for the poor and working class of Mexico, there is no other way to come to America except illegally. It’s impossible”. He is now a United States citizen and has generated hundreds of jobs. 

Bambadjan Bamba, the beloved “Black Panther” is a Dreamer.

Credit: Instagram. @bambathegreat

Bambadjan Bamba is a 35-year-old actor who “came out” as a Dreamer in 2017 after the Trump administration threatened to end the program. He was just ten when he arrived in the United States with his parents, feeling a precarious situation in his native country of Ivory Coast.

He was one of the first and few Hollywood actors to reveal his DACA status. He told Variety: “I’m going public first and foremost because I’m sick and tired of living in fear and hiding about this issue. I’ve kind of been in this status for 25 years of my life. I remember when the administration decided to cancel DACA — that was the last straw for me because not only am I married, but I have a daughter now. I didn’t feel like I could still sit back and keep hitting the snooze button.”

Salma Hayek has said that she was also undocumented when she started out in Hollywood

Credit: Instagram. @salmahayek

Our beloved Salmita moved to Los Angeles in 1991 as a student, hoping to become an actress. She has admitted that her visa expired and was in the country illegally, a fact that has been confirmed by her publicist. The truth is that Salma is one of the most representative Mexican voices in the United States, and she often voices her support for immigration reform.

She told World Entertainment News Network about her early days working in Hollywood saying “We are productive for society in many ways. The movies that I’ve worked in have amounted to almost one billion dollars. This is good for this economy. We contribute and it’s a lot of money that I had a part in”.

She also defended the decision of farm workers and other types of laborers to migrate north: “If they could work legally, then they would pay the taxes that benefit America. There needs to be immigration reform. It is really horrible that we are not spending the time actually working out a good well-planned, well thought-out immigration reform.” Hear, hear, girl! 

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