Black Panther actor Bambadjan Bamba has written a letter to Congress urging them not to repeal the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries, referred to as Dreamers may face deportation if the Trump administration decides to end the program. Bamba wrote an essay for CNN, which was published on Tuesday, pleading with the government to keep the program afloat on behalf of himself and his fellow Dreamers.
“I am an undocumented actor and filmmaker who is working legally in the United States. If this sentence reads like a contradiction, let me assure you it is not,” Bamba wrote.
The 35-year-old Ivory Coast native said he could “no longer stay silent” in wake of the administration’s threat to pull the plug on DACA.
“When I came out as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, I knew it would be risky for my career. I have been able to create a life that many dream about,” he continued. “But seeing other DACA recipients with much less than I have risking their freedom to protest and petition for a fix to the broken immigration system gave me the courage to step forward.”
“Oftentimes, the willingness and struggles of immigrants to obtain or keep legal status is left out of the media’s coverage. They fell prey to unscrupulous immigration lawyers who ripped them off because resources for Black immigrants were limited,” he wrote.
The actor then relayed that the significance behind his name is also indicative of his attitude toward adversity.
“But my name, Bamba, means “resilient” in Dioula (Madingo)—a language spoken in Ivory Coast, and I would have to live up to my name. So I picked myself up and worked my way through drama school without financial aid, avoiding auditions for any role that would require me to work internationally because I knew I couldn’t travel. If I left, there were no guarantees I’d be let back in.
While I was trying to maneuver through life without legal status, I was also dealing with the realities of being Black in America. To be Black without papers meant that I was walking on an additional layer of eggshells—never wanting to appear too aggressive or suspicious. In my case and the case of many Black immigrants, it could have also led to criminalization and deportation proceedings.”
Read the rest of Bamba’s essay here: