Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani extends support to Dreamers at Oscars 2018


90th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Presenters Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
90th Academy Awards - Oscars Show - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Presenters Lupita Nyong'o and Kumail Nanjiani. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Hollywood actors Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o on Sunday extended their support to Dreamers at the 90th Academy Awards by highlighting their own immigration status.

“We are the two actors who you keep hearing about but whose names you have trouble pronouncing,” Nyong’o joked.

Nanjiani added: “Actually, I have to complain… Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine. So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the other, the white one showed up… The real Chris Pine.”

Nyong’o is from Kenya and Nanjiani from Pakistan. He moved to the US  when he was 18 to pursue a career in Hollywood.

“Like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” said Nyong’o, and Nanjiani added: “And so, to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you.”

Their comments come amidst debate in the US over president Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a programme that hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA as it’s popularly known, was introduced during Barack Obama’s presidency, and one of the first things Trump did after assuming presidency was to terminate the programme.

To qualify for DACA, a person needed to have arrived in the United States of America before their 16th birthday, been under 31 in June 2012, have no criminal records and should have completed high school or served in the military.

As of January 2018, nearly 683,000 people were enrolled in the programme, with a majority of them Mexicans.