Bambadjan Bamba is a busy working performer, but when I catch him on the telephone, it is clear he is also a busy working dad.
“I need to receive my daughter home,” he says. “Could I call you back in 15 minutes?”
Bamba’s toddler daughter babbles from the backseat. It been an enjoyable day with daddy. 15 minutes later ring exactly. Bamba is a man of his sentence.
Bamba is a dad, husband, as well as celebrity.
You may have seen him in a recurring role on the NBC comedy, “The fantastic Place,” and he will be in the new Marvel film “Black Panther” in February. In 35, Bamba has built an impressive career for himself, and his star is increasing. Which is why his major decision comes as a bit of a surprise.
Bambadjan Bamba is a dad, husband, celebrity, and an undocumented immigrant — a fact he is making public for the very first time.
Bamba was born on the Ivory Coast. Where they applied for asylum following years of tumultuous political unrest and upheaval, his family left for America. Bamba arrived in ten years old in the South Bronx and did not speak a word of English. and television shows helped him master the language, he says. But he had a childhood much like anybody else in his new home and made friends. He was homecoming king.
“I consider myself American,” he says. “I’m as American as it gets. I love this country. I really trust that the people definitely love me back.”
Until he began applying for faculty, Bamba did not know a lot about his immigration status. That’s because while a typical youth was lived by Bamba, his parents and the immigration process wrestled. After waiting years for a reply and applying for asylum, the household was refused. The Bambas subsequently consulted with an immigration attorney to assist them. More than 20 years after the process began, their asylum request was granted. Bambadjan was over 21, and however, by then, Bamba’s dad had passed away and married, which influenced his position on the program.
While he’d been a driver on the request every time, when it eventually went through, he had been left off.
Bambadjan is officially undocumented, but shielded beneath the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, much better Called DACA.
Launched under the Obama administration in 2012, DACA allows some who arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors to get a two-year deferred action from the deportation, which also makes them eligible to attend college and get a work permit. More than 800,000 people are registered in the program.
But on Sept. 5, 2017, Trump declared he was rolling back DACA, putting tens of thousands of families and individuals in danger.
“As it happened, frankly, I was shocked,” Bamba says.
After serious backlash to his initial announcement — as most beneficiaries entrusted the government with information about themselves and their own families in the hopes it wouldn’t be used against them — Trump said he’d revisit DACA in six months, unless Congress “fixes” it earlier. That has left many people like Bamba.
That’s why Bamba is coming out as undocumented and sharing his immigration narrative.
By every measure, people registered in DACA, also known as “Dreamers” following the DREAM Act bill, are an asset to this nation. In a survey of roughly 3,000 DACA enrollees, 90% of respondents were used. With no DACA, the United States stands to drop $460 billion in gross domestic product over the next decade. That’s just one reason 56% of registered Republicans feel Dreamers ought to be permitted to stay.
“We are your neighbors. We are teaching your kids. We are everyday people trying to provide to their own families,” Bamba says. “That way Americans can say, ‘Hey I don’t know an undocumented person,’ but hey, you know me. And you also know the hundreds of others that are sharing this story every day.”
But even if DACA is saved, what of those millions of immigrants that live in this country that aren’t covered under the program? Bamba’s household is the best example that the process can take years — even if all is done “exactly the perfect way.” The machine is broken.
“There are countless people here, that are essentially second-class citizens, that are hiding in the shadows, that are being exploited … who are fleeing war, that are fleeing persecution,” Bamba says. “The exact same way Europeans back into the afternoon came to America for refuge and security, America is still a land of liberty. America has to accept those people. Just because they’re from different places now, does not mean that they don’t deserve the same kind of protections, the exact same kind of opportunities to live the American dream.”
Before we part ways, ” I can not help but ask Bambadjan what his personal “good location” resembles, a corny nod to his hit show (that was just renewed for a third season). He indulges me.
“My great place actually resembles an Earth with no evil,” he says. “We could do anything we need, but … there is complete confidence. There’s just freedom to be pleased, to do what you really love and not be worried about someone needing to kill you or chase you down. An area where there is no longer fear. ”
His daughter babbles from the background, like to cheer on him. She is the reason he loves hard and works hard. And with DACA in limbo, Bamba might need to fight hard too. However, for now, this family may enjoy the day and work to produce their location that is good a reality.
Get to know Bambadjan as he shares his own story for the first time in this powerful video.
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