In an in-depth interview with Latina magazine, the 37-year-old actress candidly spoke about her views on the immigration debate and why critics should begin to accept the changing demographics in the country.
While several political pundits and presidential candidates have actively expressed their plans to build border walls and tighten immigration policy, it’s Donald Trump’s description of Mexican immigrants crossing the border as “rapists” and criminals in June that has received the most attention.
The Dominican-raised actress said all the negative comments made about Latino immigrants have certainly upset her personally -- but, more importantly, contradict the immigrant history of the United States.
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“This topic of immigration hurts because I don’t want to be angry anymore,” Saldana told Latina. “I don’t believe that what anybody else is saying is true about me or my people. I’m kind of embarrassed when you see all of these people talking on national television, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, if your grandfather were alive today, when he came here from Ireland, from Italy, escaped the f**king war in Russia. You’re rotting his name to shame. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many degrees from Ivy League schools. You’re such a bigot. You’re such a hick right now.’”
The “Avatar” star went on to say people who feel threatened by American Latinos should understand that “the only true American here is the Native American” and Latinos are going through the same acculturation process the Irish and other cultures have gone through before.
“You can’t kill us. You can’t send us back. We are millions and millions here because it is our time to migrate,” Saldana told the magazine. “We are the youngest culture. We are doing what your people did. So shut up and just deal with it. Adjust your laws, because it’s not going away. If anything, I want to give them a hug, and say, ‘It’s okay. It’s new. Don’t be scared. We’re great people. We’re gonna do great and better things for your country. Trust me.’ We’re not angry either. We’re a culture that isn’t angry.”
To read Saldana's full interview with Latina magazine, and more on how she believes Latinos in the U.S. are evolving, head over to their website. The December-January issue also hits newsstands on Nov. 10.
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