Miguel wants the country to talk about immigrant detention centers, now.
On Thursday, the singer released the music video for “Now,” which features activists and former detainees discussing their experiences with and thoughts on the centers.
The video is set near the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto, California. It also shows scenes from the #SchoolsNotPrisons Adelanto concert that Miguel headlined back in October.
The concert was presented by several immigrant organizations, including Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), whose mission is to close immigration centers due to the abuse that immigrants often face while detained. #SchoolsNotPrisons is a movement focused on promoting community safety by funding education initiatives rather than detention centers.
“Now” itself is politically charged song, with lyrics that allude to a border wall and being silent bystanders while people are being mistreated. There are also shoutouts to Puerto Rico, Black Lives Matter and DREAMers.
An excerpt of the song is as follows:
CEO of the free world now
Build your walls up high and wide
Make it rain to keep them out
That won’t change what we are inside
Is that the look of freedom, now?
Is that the sound of freedom, now?
’Cause it’s plain to see a man’s integrity
By the way he treats those he does not need
And it’s time we talk about it
Let’s not waste our common ground
We will fall for standing and watching, all in silence
Dear Lord, are we numb? Where we going right now?
“To see innocent people ripped from their way of life, to essentially be incarcerated and used as cheap labor is really crazy, man,” the singer says in front of a crowd in the video for “Now.”
Individuals held in detention centers are often severely underpaid for work. In September, the Washington state attorney general sued a private prison corporation that paid imprisoned workers less than $1.00 a day.
In the video, one activist details his own experience being detained in an immigration detention center, his voice intermingling with the song’s lyrics.
“It’s a day-to-day struggle,” an activist in the video says. “I was released on a $10,000 bond. And being in there and seeing the atrocity and how we are being victimized as humans and as detainees. I took it upon myself to become an activist.”
Watch the music video for “Now” above.