Shakira On NBC's "Today" Show
Seeking answers

Shakira writes emotional op-ed about children separated at the U.S border

The international superstar described the current government immigration policies as “cruel.”

Colombian singer Shakira poured her heart out in an op-ed about the 545 children separated at the U.S-Mexican border. The international superstar described the current government immigration policies as “cruel” and questioned why the so-called “land of free” has failed to the minors. “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 wrote in Time magazine. “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 asks.

The mom of two and HOLA! USA Latina Powerhouse, also showed concern about how the situation might affect the kids psychologically. “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 wrote. The “Pies Descalzos” singer took it more personally when she revealed the pain she feels when her 5-year-old son has minor injuries, and she is not around. “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,” she said. The 43-years-old star asked, “who answers the cries of the children left without their parents?”

Shakira wrote about the many reasons why families leave their country behind. “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 explains. “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.”

Immigration: The Outcry Over the Separation of Families©GettyImages
Two young mothers from Honduras, L and R, and their respective children - a 12-year-old, blocked, and 1-year-old - are detained by United States Border Patrol after rafting across the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Queen of Latin Music, born and raised in Barranquilla to a New Yorker who was born to Lebanese immigrants, said nothing justifies what is happening at the border. “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 wrote.

The artist ended her essay, saying that she couldn’t just stay silent, although she is not an American citizen. “Speaking up isn’t always easy, especially when one is not an American citizen and can be perceived as an outsider commenting on domestic policies. However, the United States’ decisions affect us all, even more so when children’s lives are on the line. So it becomes a common and urgent responsibility to share the stories of these families, no matter where they are from, to keep their names in the news, and to bring them back together. Now is not the time to be silent,” she concluded.

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