National

The list of celebrities upset by US border policy grows

NEW YORK (AP) — Country music icon Willie Nelson has extended an offer to meet President Donald Trump at one of the detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to better understand what’s happening, the latest attempt by a celebrity hoping to end the administration’s policy of separating families at border crossings.

John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, have donated and raised $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a link to groups fighting the policy. And Kate Walsh has pleaded with critics to call their senators and demand a change.

The separations stem from a policy that turns all cases of people trying to enter the country illegally over for criminal prosecution. Trump has defended the policy, which has taken nearly 2,000 immigrant children away from their parents.

Stars like Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Alyssa Milano, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Judd Apatow, Kumail Nanjiani, Piper Perabo and Common have denounced the policy. Oprah Winfrey wrote to her 42.7 million followers: “Babies torn from their parents. Can’t stand it!”

The appeals from celebrities come a few weeks after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West visited the White House to press her case to pardon a woman serving a life sentence for drug offenses. Trump later did.

A new avenue opened when “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane and then Apatow called on Fox TV show creators and stars to speak out against Fox News’ coverage of the border issue, which has tended to be supportive of Trump’s stance.

“Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan also weighed in, saying he was “disgusted to work at a company that has anything whatsoever to do with” Fox News. Filmmaker and writer Paul Feig wrote that he supported Fox’s film and TV divisions but “cannot condone the support their news division promotes toward the immoral and abusive policies and actions taken by the current administration.”

Nelson tweeted to the president on Monday, asking him to join him in a visit to the centers “to better understand what’s happening there.” Nelson’s publicist confirmed that the tweet came from the 85-year-old country singer, which was posted on his wife Annie’s Twitter account.

In a statement last week to Rolling Stone, Nelson was even more critical, saying, “Christians everywhere should be up in arms.” He cited lyrics from the song “Living in the Promiseland” from his 1986 album, “The Promiseland.”

Jennifer Nettles, another country artist, weighed in Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “Speaking of borders, I do believe loving people know that regardless of politics, there are some lines you do not cross. Protecting children seems to be one we can all agree on.”

Tony- and Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner added his voice to the effort, calling the policy “monstrous” and saying he is “shocked” to find America implementing it.

“I could never have imagined a moment when the federal government is involved in putting children in cages, separating them from their families, and really engaging in human rights violations of a criminal nature,” Kushner told The Associated Press on Monday night.

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Associated Press writer John Carucci contributed to this report.

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Joel Rodgers

Joel Rodgers joined RSHV News 1 in January 2018 as a reporter/journalist. Prior to joining our team, Joel spent the previous 5 years as a morning show reporter, entertainment reporter, and sports reporter for a local television station. At 6’5”, he's the tallest reporter in the history of Shreveport, but it’s more than just his height that makes this Shreveport native stand out. His editing skills combined with his love for storytelling makes for a creative and talented addition to the RSHV News 1 team. After attending and graduating from Evangel Christian Academy, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northwestern State University. Joel is very active in the Shreveport community having won several competitions in recent years. In 2017, he danced his way to victory in the annual Susan G. Komen event, “Dancing for the Cure." He’s also won the “Mudbug Madness” Crawfish eating contest in back-to-back years and was named the top celebrity chef at the “Louisiana Food Prize” cooking competition. If you have a story idea, news tip, or just want to say "hey" - you can do so by emailing Joel Rodgers at jrodgers@realshreveport.com

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