Nicki Minaj shared an emotional message to Instagram on Wednesday, speaking out about the migrant children being torn away from their parents at the U.S. and Mexico border, while sharing her own experience of coming to America as an immigrant.
The 35-year-old rapper (née Onika Tanya Maraj) was born in Saint James, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and came to the U.S. as a young child, where she was raised in Queens, New York.
She opened up about her past alongside a 2015 photo of the cages at the processing detention centers run by the Department of Homeland Security, where children have been held since being forcibly removed from their parents who were caught crossing into America under the Trump administration’s since-reversed “zero-tolerance” family separation policy.
“I came to this country as an illegal immigrant at 5 years old,” Minaj wrote on Instagram. “I can’t imagine the horror of being in a strange place and having my parents stripped away from me at the age of 5. This is so scary to me. Please stop this. Can you try to imagine the terror & panic these kids feel right now? Not knowing if their parents are dead or alive, if they’ll ever see them again… “
Minaj isn’t the only celebrity who has been speaking out. Stars from Jada Pinkett Smith to Jim Carrey to Arnold Schwarzenegger have all slammed the Trump administration for his “cruel” immigration policy. Hip-hop stars like Nas, Fat Joe, and Cardi B have also vocalized their disgust.
“We are keeping families together,” Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was joined by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence.
“This will solve that problem. At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people who enter our country illegally,” he said.
As CNN pointed out, in signing the order, Trump “officially reversed his debunked argument that he had no authority to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border.”
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He had previously said that only Democrats can fix the migrant-child crisis, saying that they were responsible for his “zero-tolerance” policy.
“I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law,” Trump told reporters on Friday.
However, as The New York Times notes, there was actually never a law that says children must be taken away from their parents at the border. In fact, it was the Trump administration’s decision to prosecute asylum seekers who enter the U.S. at the border that has led to parents being sent into criminal custody and separated from their children.