The author, model and TV host is protesting the Trump administration’s “cruel”, “anti-family” and “inhumane” approach to immigration.
Chrissy Teigen has never made a secret of her loathing for Donald Trump. She’s called him a “f**king idiot”, “a joke”, a “racist pig” and “the biggest attention whore I know” – and that was all before he became president. After his inauguration she told him, via Twitter, that he was “so insane that I pray every day I am a sim being played by aliens”, and described him in an interview as “the f**king most vile person on this planet”. The president ultimately blocked her on Twitter in July 2017, after she replied “lolllllll no one likes you” to a tweet in which he complained about his lack of support from Republican politicians. In short: she’s not a fan.
But while sarcastic tweets offer some respite from the flaming hellscape of the Trump presidency, they can’t seriously challenge the cruel policy decisions his administration makes on a regular basis. These include, but are not limited to: scrapping the legal immigration status of 200,000 earthquake survivors, building internment camps in which to keep immigrant children, and separating asylum-seeking children from their parents – including taking one woman’s baby while she breastfed – at the Mexican-American border.
As a result, Teigen decided to put her money where her mouth is. On 14 June – Trump’s 72nd birthday – the author, model and TV host announced that she and husband John Legend had donated $288,000 (£217,000) to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“John and I are outraged to see and hear the horror stories of immigrant families seeking asylum and refuge in America being ripped apart due to the inhumane policies of the Trump administration,” Teigen wrote in a post shared on Twitter.
“These actions are cruel, anti-family and go against everything we believe this country should represent. The ACLU is committed to defending the rights and humanity of these vulnerable families.”
Teigen said she and Legend had chosen the “auspicious occasion” of Trump’s 72nd birthday to donate $72,000 each on behalf of themselves and children Luna and Miles to the ACLU, “in order to Make Trump’s Birthday Great Again”.
She also encouraged her followers to donate whatever they could to the ACLU. “In addition to fighting for immigrants’ rights, they’re advocating for reproductive rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, LGBT rights, first amendment rights and holding the Trump administration accountable wherever possible,” she wrote.
The Trump administration’s immigration practices have been widely condemned in recent weeks, as reports surfaced of the appalling treatment of Central and South American migrants and asylum seekers at the border between the US and Mexico. Children are routinely being separated from their parents as a consequence of the administration’s “zero-tolerance” approach to immigration enforcement, which means that people who enter the US illegally are automatically referred for criminal prosecution.
Their children, meanwhile, are labelled as “unaccompanied minors”, removed from their parents’ care and sent into government custody or foster homes. Several federal defenders have accused Border Patrol agents of lying to families about why and how they’re being separated: one told The Washington Post that many parents are informed their children are going away to answer some brief questions, before realising that they’ve been taken into custody or care.
Another told the Boston Globe that several of her clients have been told that their children were being taken away to bathe. “As the hours passed, it dawned on the mothers the kids were not coming back.”
In a statement, the ACLU – which was founded in 1920 to defend a broad range of civil rights across the US – pledged to keep fighting the Trump administration’s approach to immigration.
“Separating families is more than cruel and unnecessary – it’s torture,” it said.
“But the Trump administration is showing signs that it will bend to public pressure. That tells us that if enough of us raise our voices, we can end this practice for good.”
Images: Getty Images