Jackson Browne has never been a stranger to putting politics into his pop songs. Think: “Lives in the Balance,” “For America” and “World in Motion.”
In his latest single and video, “The Dreamer,” a collaboration with Mexican-American roots band Los Cenzontles, Browne takes on the plight of the DREAMers who face deportation under the current administration. The song tells the story of a Mexican girl who comes to the U.S. to be with her father but is in danger of being deported.
In September, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would end the President Obama-era Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is designed to protect undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children from being deported. Trump granted Congress a six-month window, which ends March 5, 2018, to pass legislation on the DREAMers issue. If Congress doesn’t act, up to 800,000 young adults could face deportation.
The California group Los Cenzontles was influenced by Mexican folkloric tunes. The band plays the music and harmonizes while Browne sings lead in English and Spanish.
“We don’t see half the people around us/But we imagine enemies who surround us/And the walls that we’ve built between us/Keep us prisoners of our fears,” Browne sings.
Browne, 69, told Forbes he teamed with Los Cenzontles’ founder Eugene Rodriguez to put a face to the immigrants’ dilemma through a melodic pop tune that fans of his earlier songs like “The Pretender” and “Linda Paloma” might find familiar. The two wrote the song.
“What Eugene did, which I think was really brilliant, he just told the story of a particular person. And somebody we can all feel for, a child who is coming here to be reunited with her father. That’s a thing that’s written in every sentence about DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], children who were brought here illegally, but without any choice in the matter. And who now are among the most earnest and hardworking and ethical and virtuous people we have,” Browne said.
“They come to be Americans in every way, but the legal document,” he continued. “We have a procedure that has to be followed in order to do that, that’s only fair. But to send them back would not be fair either. That’s the dilemma I think most people really feel for the DREAMers because they’re among us and they’re as American as you or I.”
Browne performs an acoustic show Jan. 17 at Hard Rock Live near Hollywood.