Immigration reform is taking center stage this election year, and two artists are making their voices heard. Grammy-award winning singers Juanes and John Legend are teaming up to challenge immigrant detention as part of the #FREEAMERICA tour.
#FREEAMERICA was initiated by Legend in 2015 as a multi-year culture campaign to help change the national conversation surrounding the U.S. criminal justice system. According to the group, 65 million, or one in four, American adults have a criminal record, and nearly 7 million are under some capacity of correctional control. Many of these millions are immigrants who are held in detention centers across the Southwest.
Over the past year, Legend led a nationwide listening and learning tour where he visited with inmates, law enforcement, politicians, and criminal justice experts.
This year, Legend and Juanes took their musical talents to Arizona at the infamous Eloy Immigration Detention Center, where an estimated 1,500 immigrants are currently held. There, they met with the people most affected by immigration enforcement and having been denied permission to perform inside the facility, held a makeshift concert in the back of the detention center.
The visit truly affected Juanes whom in a press release, expressed his gratitude for his inclusion in Legend’s tour and spoke on the topic.
“[Immigrant detention] should be a concern to all of us in a nation of immigrants,” he said. “We must create a greater awareness about the human beings affected and the need for a more just immigration process.”