Where Celebs Stand on the Heavily Debated Issue of Immigration and Refugees
Immigration is a huge issue right now. Here in the US, it’s mainly the question of reforming our immigration policies, a long-term concern for many people. Fears surrounding movement both within Europe and from the Middle East (especially Syria, where a civil war is still taking place) were partly responsible for the UK’s historic vote in late June to separate from the European Union.
The situations are not identical, but they are related. The question of how free people will be to move around the world in search of safety or better economic prospects, or simply based on preference, is poised to remain a major one for the foreseeable future. In light of that, some of our fave celebs have taken note and are speaking out.
1. Game of Thrones cast: Okay, not the whole cast. Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Liam Cunningham — who play Cersei, Arya and Davos Seaworth, respectively — went to Greece to visit residents of refugee camps, most of whom have been displaced by the civil war in Syria. After the visit, Lena, Maisie and Liam all pleaded for European Union leaders to provide more concrete support to the roughly 57,000 refugees now stuck in Greece.
2. J.K. Rowling: Last September, a photo of a Syrian toddler who drowned as his family was trying to get to Greece made the rounds on both social and traditional media. As the world reacted to the image of Aylan Kurdi on a beach, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to promote the idea that people seeking refuge from war and violent unrest should be welcomed. It was a decisive step at a time when many people were still debating whether to refer to these people as “migrants” or “refugees,” implying relocation either by choice or by necessity (and, by extension, how little or how much accommodation those people might need).
3. Eva Longoria: Everyone’s favorite desperate housewife has long been a vocal supporter of reforming America’s immigration policies. She co-founded the Latino Victory Project (LVP) to help Latino candidates get elected to office, and when Republican candidates began spending a lot of time talking about immigration — especially from Mexico — in 2015, Eva and LVP put together a video project called “The Firsts” to showcase Latinos achieving success.
4. Diane Guerrero: The Orange Is the New Black and Jane the Virgin star recently published a memoir focused on her experience as the daughter of undocumented immigrants. In it she discusses the mental strain of constantly fearing for your family’s safety and of hiding for years what she once considered embarrassing: her parents’ deportation when she was a teenager. In addition to shining a light with her writing on the experiences of undocumented families, Diane does some serious activist work: with the Immigrant Legal Resource Centre to connect undocumented people with what they need from the legal system, and with Mi Familia Vota to get young people of color out to vote.
What are your thoughts on immigration? Let us know at @BritandCo on Twitter!
(Photos via Kevork Djansezian, Danny E. Martindale, Jemal Countess and Dimitrios Kambouris /Getty Images)