America Ferrera Speaks Out Against The Myth That Migrants Steal US Jobs

REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

America Ferrera stood up to the story that people are coming from Central America to steal American jobs.

Ferrera was speaking on a panel about Central American violence at Tina Brown's Women in the World Summit in New York City on Friday.

Astrid Ellis, a young woman who was kidnapped and raped, was also on the panel. She spoke about her experience and how it prompted her to come to the United States undocumented and tell her story.

Ferrera said she heard countless stories like Astrid's from Central American women.

Undocumented and unaccompanied minors coming to the United States from Central America has been a central point in this year's presidential campaign. Donald Trump keeps saying he will build a wall on the southern border to keep all people out, claiming they are criminals who come to take American jobs.

Ferrera said it "boggles [her] mind" people cannot imagine what terrible situations would persuade parents to send their children alone to a foreign land.

She said,

How little imagination does it take to put yourself in that parent's shoes and think that this narrative we hear in the news that people are coming to take American jobs? It's about nuance, and we have to demand that the conversations that we have in this country about these humanitarian issues don't get completely taken over by politicians with agendas who refuse to acknowledge that there are people on the other side of this.

Later in the panel, Ferrera said Americans all can do something to help. We can pressure politicians to have humanitarian responses, for instance. Ultimately, she said, helping people escaping violence is the best thing we can all do.

She added,

There's no wall you can build, no amount of detention centers you can build, that are going to stop people from fleeing death.

Citations: Women in the World New York Summit 2016 – Agenda (The New York Times)