What’s happening at the border is a crisis. Not the kind that those hankering for a wall would have you believe, but a humanitarian one. This was clear to America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria and Wilmer Valderrama who, among other actors, storytellers, and activists, got to visit a shelter in Tijuana on International Women’s Day. The trip was organized by the nonprofit advocacy group Families Belong Together along with Ferrera and Valderrama’s I Will Harness, with the goal of educating those visiting the shelter about the current asylum-seeking process. Recent changes in the process (the “Remain in Mexico” policy) have left hundreds of migrants stranded in Mexico as they await the chance to apply, often after a harrowing journey from Central America.
Moreover, U.S. border agents process only a handful of asylum requests a day, which has created a backlog of applications and overcrowding in shelters by the border. Groups like Espacio Migrante, which hosted the Hollywood artists in Tijuana, work toward supporting migrants, refugees, and deportees in the area of Tijuana and San Diego.
“It is easy for me to look at these human beings and see myself,” said Ferrera, who’s been an outspoken immigration advocate, in an interview with the Associated Press. “This could very easily have been my reality in this lifetime.” Her family, after all, came to the U.S. from Honduras. The actors brought much-needed resources and got a chance to talk with those in the shelter about their experience getting to the border, making the crisis feel all the more urgent. In many of their social media posts recounting their trip, the Hollywood stars stressed how what they saw went beyond party lines. “This is NOT a political debate,” Valderrama wrote on Instagram. “It’s purely a conversation of people being there for people… the humanitarian crises in the border is a call we have to answer.”
“As a nation,” Ferrera added on Instagram, “we need to cut through the political fighting and reconnect to our humanity. What our government does, they do in our name.” She then asked her followers to sign the Reject the Trump Administration’s Cruel ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy petition.