There are many songs that focus on the growing issue of immigration. Although many of the songs don’t have the same sound, they focus on the same concept.

I connected the lineage as follows:

NowAmerican LandPaper PlanesAcross the Border

Miguel’s album War and Leisure was released on December 1, 2017. Now is the last song on the album, and wasn’t released prior to the album. A song that dives into the divide between the US and its immigration policies has strong ties to many song that came before.

Bruce Springsteen’s American Land tells the story of immigrants who came to America during the 19th and 20th century in hopes of creating a better life for themselves. He details many of the horrible conditions that immigrants faced when looking for jobs, as well as living in America. Similar to Miguel’s message, it details the injustices that immigrants are facing.

Come across the water a thousand miles from home

With nothing in their bellies but the fire down below

They died building the railroads worked to bones and skin

In his song Miguel alludes to their labor using phrases like “pick the fruit of your labor.” This idea of immigrant labor is carried through M.I.A Paper Planes. The song discusses issues of immigrant stereotypes. It focuses on the American belief that immigrants have come to take away jobs and money from citizens.

All I wanna do is

And a

And take your money

This statement is repeated in the chorus four times. Miguel uses a similar technique in the chorus of Now by using repetition to emphasize the importance of acting “now.” Using this idea of stereotypes, Miguel tries to battle what the immigrant identity truly is through his video and his lyrics.

In Miguel’s song he dives deeply into the reality of detention centers. He also spends a lot of time targeting Trump and his influence on building a wall between the Mexican border. In Bruce Springsteen’s across the border, he discusses the dangers of embarking on the journey of crossing the Mexican border.

The song ends with a hopefully message about life beyond the border.

“I know love and fortune will be mine, somewhere across the border.”

Miguel shares a similar message of hoping, considering the United States as the look and sound of freedom for many.

Although Miguel did not draw direct inspiration from these songs, they share many of the ideas that are represented within the song. Miguel was inspired by the political climate in the US and its response to immigrants. Each of these songs shows that even decades apart, issues of immigration have remained. They have worked to alienate a group of people and each of these songs works to give them the value they deserve.