At least 2,500 migrant children have been separated from their parents since Donald Trump enacted his family separation border policy. Of those, five have reportedly died while in ICE custody. Now, Fiona Apple is doing her part to help by donating royalties for her song “Criminal” to While They Wait, a fund that assists immigrants seeking asylum.
Apple made the announcement on Sunday through Tumblr fan site Fiona Apple Rocks. “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,” she wrote. “It seems to me that the best way I can help detainees is to contribute to payment of their legal fees.”
“What they need is representation and guidance because these people are being prosecuted as criminals just for asking for asylum,” added the Grammy-winning songwriter. “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.”
“I could write a song about this, and maybe I will,” Apple continued, “but for now, I will use ‘Criminal’ to help the WRONGLY criminalized get justice… I have decided to pledge all of my earnings from ‘Criminal’ over this year and next to this organization.”
According to Apple, film and TV shows most often request the use of “Criminal”, which appeared on her 1996 album, Tidal.
While They Wait is a joint fund launched by Brooklyn Defender Services, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the ACLU. It raises money to support both the cost of living and legal fees for immigrants who are awaiting their day in court.
Read Apple’s full announcement below.