This is no criminal act.
Fiona Apple is using the proceeds from her most popular song to help refugees whom she believes are being treated unfairly at the US southern border.
The singer-songwriter has promised to donate two years of royalties from “Criminal” to immigration aid initiative While They Wait, she wrote in a Sunday post on Tumblr. The artist sent a handwritten note to a Tumblr fan page, which posted it on Sunday.
“After months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help,” Apple wrote. “Of course you can donate money for the bare necessities, toothbrushes, blankets, tents, Pedialyte, etc., but … It seems to me that the best way I can help detainees is to contribute to payment of their legal fees.”
The While They Wait campaign was launched in January by Brooklyn Defender Services, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and ACLU of Southern California to help pay for necessities, immigration fees and legal services as refugees wait out the asylum process, according to its website.
“What they need is representation and guidance because these people are being prosecuted as criminals just for asking for asylum. When they are separated from their children they need help navigating the system. They need to be bailed out of prison. They need money to pay for the ankle bracelets they are forced to rent and wear while awaiting arraignment, for crying out loud.”
“Criminal” is the most requested song of hers by TV shows and films, Apple said.
“I could write a song about this and maybe I will but for now, I will use “CRIMINAL” to help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice,” Apple said.
The crooner also urged other artists to donate to the cause.
Brooklyn Defender Services and RAICES Texas thanked Apple for her donation.
“We are humbled and blown away by Fiona Apple’s generous support for asylum seekers through the While They Wait Fund,” the groups said in a statement.
“There are over 1 million immigrants, including 300,000 asylum seekers, who are going through the legal steps to gain legal status. Release from detention is just the beginning of their struggle. Fiona Apple’s support will allow people to achieve self-sufficiency during their long, uncertain, and costly wait to see if they will be allowed to stay in the United States.”