Latinx Musicians Fight Xenophobic Policies Through Song

By Sameer Rao Jul 11, 2018

Musicians from throughout the Latinx diaspora used their platforms and art to condemn xenophobia in the United States well before Donald Trump became president. NPR’s Alt.Latino explores how musicians are currently combating the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies in an article and audio segment today (July 11). 

Alt.Latino highlights several musicians who recorded songs or took other action to protest the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border. For instance, Guatemalan musician Gaby Moreno partnered with producer Van Dyke Parks on a cover of "The Immigrants." Calypso musician David Rudder wrote the original song about the assault of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by NYPD officers in the ’90s; Moreno’s version changes some of the lyrics to reflect the experiences of more recent Central American immigrants. Proceeds from downloads and streams support the Central American Resource Center of California (CARECEN), which offers legal and educational services to Central American immigrants and advocates. 

"I am a Guatemalan immigrant," Moreno wrote in the song’s YouTube description. "This country welcomed me 18 years ago. It breaks my heart to see the events taking place at the border right now. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and to be received into this country with more love and empathy."

Alt.Latino also notes that Los Gallos Negros, a mariachi ensemble from Washington D.C., recently performed at a protest against family separation at the White House:


On a balmy late June afternoon, D.C.-based mariachi band Los Gallos Negros sang an impassioned chorus called "Migra" in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., during a rally against what was President Donald Trump’s policy of separating the children of asylum seekers from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border; the organizers had asked the band to start the rally with a song. Bandleader Daniel Herrera says playing music for events like this is a deeply personal statement for all of its members.


"All of us are children of immigrants, and this issue hits us very hard in a very guttural and emotional way," says Herrera. "So we wanted to be able to contribute any little piece of art that we have to this mosaic of social justice."

Listen to the audio story from Alt.Latino