Q. What do you hope to convey?
The best thing we can do is share the stories of immigrants and deportation and humanize them, show stories of mothers, students, hardworking people. Often immigrants are treated like criminals, or like they’re just numbers. A lot of people think this has nothing to do with them. But this country was founded and made by immigrants. Our parents aren’t here to take — they give. My parents came from another country and now here I am to share their story and Pepe’s story.
You have 11 million or more people in this country living in shadows and fear. There has to be change, some kind of reform where people aren’t taken from their homes and families. It’s inhumane and it’s got to stop.
Q. What kind of response have you gotten?
We’re so overwhelmed that people are embracing this song for their own struggle to be a citizen in this country. The first time we performed it live was at the Kennedy Center a few months back and it was pretty amazing, the way people listened and sang along and applauded and came up to us afterwards. People are sharing and passing along performances of us singing El Hielo.
We were just in Washington, D.C., [on April 10] for the huge immigration rally on Capitol Hill, and we sang the song, we marched to the ICE offices. They were expecting 25,000 and at end of day it was 100,000 who came out, families, children, people from different walks of life and races. I felt like we were part of something bigger.
Q. Do you think a song can make a difference?
We have faith. If we keep telling our stories, if people start coming out of the shadows, if we keep making our presence known, there will be immigration reform.