President Barack Obama

Over 100 high profile artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, comedians, directors, producers, and performers are calling on President Obama and Congress to acknowledge the hope and dignity of the American immigrant story by passing just, fair, and inclusive immigration reform.

Members of the creative community who are speaking out for humane reform include Russell Banks, W. Kamau Bell, Ross Bleckner, Margaret Cho, Teju Cole, Chuck D, Rosario Dawson, Zack De La Rocha, Junot Díaz, Abigail E. Disney, Dave Eggers, Shepard Fairey, Eric Fischl, John Leguizamo, Yo-Yo Ma, Mira Nair, Robert Redford, R.E.M., The Roots, Sarah Silverman, Jose Antonio Vargas, Colson Whitehead, and many others.

Published on, the Artists’ Statement on Immigration Reform says, “Creating a just and humane immigration process is a moral and cultural imperative that secures the future of a vibrant nation. Immigration reform should reflect our shared belief in fairness and inclusion.”

“Our American cultural life would be considerably diminished without the contributions of immigrant artists,” said Jeff Chang, Executive Director of Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts and founding member of The Culture Group and CultureStrike. “Audrey Hepburn, Igor Stravinsky, Claude McKay, Gertrude Stein, Bruce Lee, and Celia Cruz are among the innumerable immigrants who have helped to shape our vibrant nation. We are all stronger when we celebrate our diversity and welcome those who are seeking the American dream of inclusion and opportunity.”

“Almost any American can trace their family roots to immigrants,” added visual artist Shepard Fairey. “Often our ancestors migrated to escape prejudices in their homeland and to find a better life. Current immigration laws do not reflect our shared values, nor do they reflect the realities of our modern world. They all too often separate parents from their children and criminalize those seeking a better way of life.”

As Congress marks up the immigration bill this week, these artists want to remind lawmakers of the positive cultural and economic impacts of immigration, and to call on elected officials to pass legislation that:

• Ends the detentions and deportations that cause separation and suffering for families;

• Preserves families by expediting the visa process and retaining long standing policies that reunite

• and stabilize families;

• Ensures all immigrants have basic workers’ rights;

• Provides equal immigration rights to LGBTQ individuals and families; and

• Creates a clear roadmap to citizenship that includes all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Says Raul Pacheco from Ozomatli, “Our unique American history is based on the continued contributions of hardworking people from all walks of life. An immigration reform bill that leaves no one out, keeps families together, and provides a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants is the opportunity to live up to our highest ideals of democracy and freedom that attract so many people worldwide.”

For more information, visit and follow #migrationisbeautiful on twitter.


The Artists’ Statement on Immigration Reform and are collaborations of The Culture Group, Air Traffic Control, and CultureStrike.

The Culture Group ( is a collaboration of social change experts and creative producers who believe that social change begins with cultural change.

CultureStrike ( is a network of artists, writers, filmmakers, comedians, and other cultural workers who call for meaningful and just immigration reform in 2013, want to eradicate anti-immigrant hate, and create positive narratives around migration.

Air Traffic Control

( provides strategy and support to musicians and other artists so that they may play an effective and vital role in the promotion of social justice.


Visual artist and member of The Culture Group and CultureStrike, Favianna Rodriguez created the “Migration is Beautiful” butterfly image. “The butterfly symbol was not my idea. Immigrant rights activists have seen the butterfly as a symbol of fluid and peaceful migration for generations. To me, the monarch butterfly represents the dignity and resilience of migrants, and the right that all living beings have to move freely. I believe that we shouldn’t allow our identity to be defined only by our suffering, nor by the actions that others have taken to devalue our families and our labor -- rather, let us celebrate our beauty, pride, and resilience in the face of inequality and injustice.”