Monday, March 5, 2018, was when President Trump announced he would let DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) expire. A series of judicial orders have stopped that, while Congressional inaction leaves a generation of Dreamers hanging, with no long-term guarantees that they will be allowed to stay in America.
So it's the perfect time for Camila Cabello to speak up on their behalf.
Cabello does just that in a new YouTube Artist Spotlight special called Made in Miami. In a series of interviews with her Cuban mother, Sinhue; Mexican father, Alejandro; and Cuban grandmother, Mercedes (along with some family friends), it tells the story of her immigration to America when she was six.
Sinhue explains that she didn't have room to grow in Cuba, and felt she needed to come to the U.S. to realize her dreams and provide a better life for her daughter. She took Cabello on a bus filled with Cubans to the U.S. They all told immigration officials that they were planning to go to Disney World. Instead, Cabello and her mother went to Miami and stayed there. Sinhue was an architect in Cuba, but her degrees meant nothing in the U.S., and, as Cabello wrote in an essay for PopSugar, that meant she had to get a job at Marshall's.
Her father followed around a year later. It only took that long because he kept being denied visas from the U.S. He tried to come to the country legally, but when it proved impossible, he risked his life and swam across the border. In Made in Miami, he calls it the happiest trip of his life.
For all of the Trumpian talk of other countries not sending their "best people" here and the unfathomable desire to send the children of immigrants back to countries they can't remember or where they never lived in the first place, Cabello's story is the flip side of the coin. It is the story where average people with above average potential are locked out of the American dream.
"My family's attitude of never setting limits on yourself [is] literally the reason there's a camera here right now," Cabello says with a laugh.
Here's what we got since Cabello was allowed to stay in the U.S.: her single, "Havana," became the longest run for a female artist at the top of the Billboard Pop Chart in five years. It was also the first song by a woman to top Pop, Rhythmic, and Adult Pop charts since 1996. Her self-titled album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200, making her the first woman to accomplish that feat in three years.
In an industry where women are struggling with representation as well as pay equity and creating workplaces safe from sexual harassment, I'd say that makes Cabello exceptional and helps her to make the case for every Dreamer in line behind her. It is too bad our current administration can't see the potential in every Dreamer out there.
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