Bambadjan Bamba, an actor and filmmaker best known for his roles on the "Sopranos," "Suicide Squad," and "Grey's Anatomy," in addition to his recurring role on the NBC sitcom “The Good Place” and for his upcoming role in Marvel's "Black Panther" movie, made a decision to formally reveal his immigration status this week. The reasons for his decision to go "public" are apparently threefold in nature: 1) it stems from a personal place of fear about the fate of his status in the United States and how it may impact his life, his hard-earned professional resume in Hollywood, and his family; 2) Bamba hopes his coming out story will inspire and ignite Hollywood to advocate for undocumented immigrants; and 3) He hopes to dispel myths that immigrants are criminals and who seek to take American jobs and to demystify the lives of immigrants.
Bamba explains that he was propelled to make the announcement given President Trump's announcement about plans to rescind the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which has allowed him to live and work in the United States lawfully. “I’m coming out to say, ‘Hey, my colleagues, my friends, it’s great to say I’m with DACA, I’m with the Dreamers. But we need more concrete action. . .There’s so many people in Hollywood who are immigrants. I don’t know how Hollywood would function without immigrants." He also wanted to propel people into action because he felt that the overall response to Trump's termination of the DACA program was muted.
Bamba said he wants to see entertainment companies engage more proactively in protecting vulnerable employees, comparing efforts of the tech industry leaders who have pledged to pay immigration lawyers’ fees for affected employees. He hopes that industry executives in Hollywood will likewise pledge to lobby Congress to find a permanent solution. Importantly, Bamba is directly asking people to sign his petition asking Hollywood to stand with immigrants.
His petition may be found at the following online address: https://defineamerican.com/bamba/
To place Bamba's history in context, his family was forced to flee the West African country of Ivory Coast in 1993, after the nation’s first president died and the country became socio-politically unstable and dangerous, fearing persecution. He was only 10 years old at the time and did not find out about his undocumented immigration status until he was in high school, like many other DACA recipients.
The Shulman Law Group, LLC, a firm dedicated exclusively to the field of immigration law, publicly praised Bambadjan Bamba for his courage and for his commitment to advocating for the DACA population. Edward Shulman, Esq. firm founder, explained that DACA, the Obama-era program, has granted temporary resident status to an estimated 800,000 immigrants who were brought as children to the United States unlawfully through no fault of their own. While Bamba's petition joins with many other advocacy efforts to protect the DREAMers, Shulman recommends that current DACA recipients begin to explore other avenues of immigration relief should no replacement programming be instituted during the Trump Administration.