The Cuban-Mexican singer, 20, took the Grammy Award stage to talk about her own experience growing up as an immigrant.
“Tonight in this room full of music’s dreamers we remember that this country was built by dreamers for dreamers chasing the American dream. I’m here on this stage tonight because just like the Dreamers, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope,” said Cabello, who was born in Cuba and lived in Mexico before emigrating to Miami when she was 6.
She continued, “They showed me what it means to work twice as hard and never give up. And honestly, no part of my journey is any different than theirs. I’m a proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant born in Eastern Havana. Standing in front of you on the Grammy stage in New York City and all I know is just like dreams, these kids can’t be forgotten and are worth fighting for.”
The singer chose her words carefully, as Dreamers is the name given to children who came to America with their parents illegally. Under the Obama policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) they were offered protection from deportation. However, President Trump ended that program last year and Congress now has until March 5 to agree on a replacement policy.
The “Havana” singer finished her speech by introducing U2, pointing out the band’s Irish roots and how they have spread their message through their music.
“Tonight it is my great honor to introduce one of the greatest bands in music history, U2. This band from Ireland first rocked the Grammy boat when they won 4 awards 30 years ago for The Joshua Tree, an album that explored their own powerful connection with the American dream,” Cabello said. “46 Grammy nominations and 22 awards later, they extend their stunning Grammy legacy tonight by celebrating New York City and the promise that has drawn generations of immigrants here from around the world. Here they are on the Hudson River performing in front of a beautiful lady who inspired these timeless words by Emma Lazarus.”
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Cabello then recited Lazarus’ famous poem during an intro video showing U2’s stage on a boat with the Statue of Liberty in the background
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Cabello said in a voiceover before the outdoor performance.
Sharing a picture of their performance on Twitter, U2 took aim at Trump’s infamous “s—hole” counties comment which he made in regards to whom should be allowed to immigrate to America.
“Blessed are the S—hole Countries, for they gave us the American Dream” #Grammys,” the band captioned the photo.
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Cabello had also just sung with Kesha during her all-female performance of “Praying.” Cabello and Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Julia Michaels and Bebe Rexha dressed in all white to sing along with the Grammy-nominated singer.
The 60th annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, were broadcast live on CBS from Madison Square Garden in New York City.