Willie Nelson is now among those speaking out against Donald Trump’s policy separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border.
The legendary musician, a Texas native, issued a statement this week that opposed the Department of Justice policy that requires those crossing the border to be detained and their children taken to holding facilities. As Rolling Stone noted, Willie Nelson called on Christians to oppose the policy and made a reference to his 1986 song, “Living in the Promiseland.”
“What’s going on at our southern border is outrageous. Christians everywhere should be up in arms. What happened to ‘Bring us your tired and weak and we will make them strong?’ This is still the promise land,” Nelson said.
Even before Willie Nelson’s statement, a number of Christian groups have already spoken out against the policy, especially after Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible as justification for the policy. A number of religious leaders and groups have come together to sign letters opposing the policy.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was among the first to speak out against the policy.
“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma,” wrote Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the conference and archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, in a statement.
Even Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, one of the most vocal Trump supporters among all religious leaders, has come out against the policy.
This is not the first time that Willie Nelson has expressed his views on immigration and the need to take care of children brought across the border. He has consistently spoken out in support of these children, saying America needs to treat them with compassion.
“I’ve been watching, and the only thing we can do is take care of those kids, whatever it takes. They’re scared. They’re being mistreated,” he told Rolling Stone in 2014. “And it’s not a good way to start off your life. But it’s a good opportunity for us to show a little bit of humanitarianism and take care of those kids. I know a lot of people want to send them back. I guess the closer you are to the situation, the more extreme emotions you have about it, but it seems to me the old golden rule, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ or ‘treat other people like you want to be treated’ … Treat those kids like they were your kids.”
Despite opposition from a number of groups, including Willie Nelson, religious leaders, and even political allies, Donald Trump has not backed down from the policy and said that Democrats are to blame for not negotiating with him on immigration reform.