Amber Heard and other Hollywood celebrities traveled to part of the US-Mexico border in Texas on Sunday (24 June).
They were there to protest the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, which many people have been outspoken about.
Along with activists, the group gathered outside the Tornillo detention center. Here, children are kept in tents, away from adult family members.
The organization Voto Latino set up the #EndFamilyDetention protest. It was originally called Stop Separating, until Trump signed an executive order ending the family separations. However, many children still have not been reunited with their familes.
Among the well-known figures present at the protest were Amber Heard, Rob Reiner, Lena Dunham, Sia, Mira Sorvino, Constance Wu, Joshua Jackson, Connie Britton, and Bella Thorne.
Reiner was the only one to speak of the celebrity group. However, several other activists and figures spoke, such as Mexican civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, former US secretary of housing and urban development Julian Castro, and Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
Speech at protest for Tornillo detention facility. pic.twitter.com/S7DYP3AHov
— romy reiner (@romyreiner) June 24, 2018
Law is meant to protect and defend
Other celebrities who attended did post across social media, though.
Heard made an Instagram post, writing: ‘Law is meant to protect and defend justice, not destroy it.’
She wore white (like many protestors) and carried a sign reading: ‘Apartheid was legal. The Holocaust was legal. Legality is a matter of power, not justice.’
Constance Wu shared a photo of her and Dunham (who it seems organized the celebrity portion of the protest) speaking with Castro.
‘Seeking asylum is not a crime,’ Wu wrote.
‘Taking children from their parents, putting them in tents and cages in a place that’s over 100 degrees heat is in humane. This is not what America is about.’
‘We came to Tornillo, Texas, to show our solidarity with the families who have been separated, the children who are alone, the parents who are grieving and the undocumented Americans who are losing more than I can fathom,’ Dunham wrote in her post.
‘Thank you, Tornillo, for showing us a warm border welcome and reminding us that together we rise.’
Skylar Astin of Pitch Perfect fame also attended.
In his Instagram post, he said: ‘Families belong together — not put in cages indefinitely. This is a moral issue. Not a political one. It is urgent that the U.S. government act to #reunify the more than 2,000 children who were cruelly torn away from their parents.’
Bella Thorne, meanwhile, described the whole situation to BuzzFeed News as ‘so fucked up’.
‘This whole American dream idea is kind of a lie,’ she said.
What makes a human legal or illegal
Connie Britton gave an extensive account of their time in Texas.
‘There was little to see, we were not allowed access to the children or anywhere near where they are staying.
‘But what I did see were hundreds of people gathering peacefully to try to give voice to these voiceless children and refugees caught in the maelstrom of a policy of division and hate, children and families who have already come from life threatening conditions.
‘Clearly the debate right now is about what makes a human legal or illegal. Apparently we as Americans have multiple and varying perspectives on that. But where I hope we might all agree is that no child should endure, at the hands of the US government, OUR government, the irreparable trauma of being abruptly taken from parents and siblings, possibly forever, and subjected to prison-like conditions.’
She continued: ‘These children may never recover. These families most certainly won’t recover. This is a level of abuse and inhumanity that represents only the darkest of our American soul. We can be better. We are better.
‘ In this moment as Americans we have failed. I deeply hope we will find the best in ourselves again. And the one sure way to do that is at the voting booth this year. It matters that much. The world deserves better from this land that we love. And dammit so do we.’