Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani honor DREAMers at the Academy Awards

"Dreams are the foundation of America."

Actors Lupita Nyong'o (L) and Kumail Nanjiani walk onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre. CREDIT: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Actors Lupita Nyong'o (L) and Kumail Nanjiani walk onstage during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre. CREDIT: Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Actors Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani expressed solidarity with DREAMers, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and other young immigrants, at the Academy Awards Sunday night.

“We are the actors you keep hearing about, but whose names you have trouble pronouncing,” Nyong’o said when the two came to the mic to present the award for best production design.

Nyong’o, who is from Kenya, went on to say that both she and Nanjiani are both immigrants.

“I am from Pakistan and Iowa,” Nanjiani said. “Two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map.”

Like everyone in the room and everyone watching at home, Nyong’o said, they’re also both dreamers.

“We grew up dreaming of one day working in movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood,” she said. “And dreams are the foundation of America.”

“And so to all the DREAMers out there, we stand with you,” Nanjiani said.

Nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children benefit from the DACA program, which offers temporary deportation relief and work permits.

Advertisement

But the situation for DACA recipients has been fraught for some time. Last fall, Trump rescinded the DACA program with a three month delay, but even before that announcement, DREAMers were being deported, and with each passing day, 122 DACA recipients lose their status, according to The Center for American Progress. (ThinkProgress is an editorially independent outlet housed at CAP).

The administration gave DACA recipients whose statuses expired before March 5, 2018 — about 154,000 eligible people according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statistics — exactly one month to file for a two-year renewal. The administration then left it to Congress to find a permanent solution. They have yet to do so.

The American Civil Liberties Union — which launched a six-figure advertising campaign dedicated to finding a solution for DACA recipients — thanked the two actors on Twitter for honoring the DREAMers Sunday.

Nyong’o and Nanjiani weren’t the only ones at Sunday’s awards show to address the immigration debate.

During his monologue at the start of the show, host Jimmy Kimmel joked, “The stunning Lupita Nyong’o, she was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya. Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!”