Zoe Saldaña did not hold back when asked about politicians making hard-line comments immigration that appear to target Latinos.
Speaking to Latina magazine, the Dominican-American actress said that she would say to those reluctant to accept the “Latinination of America:” “You can’t kill us. You can’t send us back."
"We are millions and millions here because it is our time to migrate," she said. "We are the youngest culture. We are doing what your people did. So shut up and just deal with it.”
The “Avatar” actress added that the laws need to be adjusted because immigrants are “not going away.”
“If anything, I want to give them a hug, and say, ‘It’s okay. It’s new. Don’t be scared. We’re great people. We’re gonna do great and better things for your country. Trust me,’” Saldaña added. “We’re not angry either. We’re a culture that isn’t angry.”
She noted that Latinos are “overall very respectful” and when they were first discriminated against, they took the high road – but not anymore.
“(We chose to) keep quiet. Keep working. Don’t teach our kids Spanish because we don’t want them to get picked on,” Saldaña added. “Now we’re entering that phase where the first and the second generations are so in love with our ancestry and want to keep it alive in the best possible way.”
She continued: “I love this proprietorship, because this country does belong to Latinos, too. We’re working here, and our sons are dying at war for the U.S. So it belongs to me as much as it belongs to my neighbor.”
The actress opened up about how the debate and rhetoric over immigration has affected her life.
“This topic of immigration hurts because I don’t want to be angry anymore. I don’t believe that what anybody else is saying is true about me or my people,” she told the magazine. “I’m kind of embarrassed when you see all of these people talking on national television, and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, if your grandfather were alive today, when he came here from Ireland, from Italy, escaped the f--king war in Russia. You’re rotting his name to shame. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, or how many degrees from Ivy League schools. You’re such a bigot. You’re such a hick right now.’ People have to be open to the reality of what’s happening in our country.”
In her cover interview with Latina, Saldaña also touched on how she balances her work life with her family life.