Shakira Pens Op-Ed About the Over 500 Children Separated From Their Families at the Border
By Liz Calvario
Shakira is opening up about a subject that she is passionate about. The Colombian singer penned an emotional op-ed for Time magazine about the hundreds of children who have been separated from their families at the U.S./Mexico border.
Shakira, who is an immigrant and mother of two boys, writes about how much it pains her to see what is happening in the "land of the tree."
"How could a nation built on the shoulders of immigrants, one that purports to hold family values in such high regard, have such unimaginably cruel immigration policies?" she asks. "What rationale could justify separating children from their families, with no intention of ever reuniting them, when the U.S. has prided itself on being a beacon of hope for those who come from places where not even basic needs or safety are a guarantee?"
She explains that there are 545 children stuck in "no-man's-land," with the risk of growing up without a mom or dad.
"545 children who have to go to sleep without someone to reassure them that they aren’t in danger at any given moment, 545 children who can’t hug, laugh or have any contact with the people they love most," she continues.
Shakira writes that as a mother, whose youngest son is 5, "I think about how he cries for me when he skins his knee, and the pain I feel if I am not there to comfort him."
"Who answers the cries of the children left without their parents?" she says, adding that she cannot imagine the pain that the parents feel for not knowing where their children are and whether they are safe.
"Some might argue that the parents put their children in this situation, but many families coming to the U.S. are fleeing violence, poverty, persecution or climate catastrophes in their home countries," she counters. "The decision to leave home is not an easy one, as anyone who has left home can attest. It’s telling that some of the parents who have been located made the near impossible choice to keep their children with friends or family members in the U.S. 'due to fear of what will happen to their children' if they return home."
The "Whenever, Wherever" singer adds that the people involved need to be held responsible for the separation policy, stating, "This is not about politics. There is simply no justification for the harm caused to these innocent children, and the people responsible for this cruel policy must be held accountable."
She continues by writing that, "Every effort should be put toward finding and reuniting the families that have been ripped apart."
Shakira also adds how grateful she is to the ACLU lawyers "who have been working tirelessly to locate these parents. To prevent this from happening again, we need a just and humane immigration system that honors the commitment to asylum seekers and recognizes the basic humanity of each and every one of us."
"Now is not the time to be silent," she concludes.