Before launching into a performance of “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” a song that is not normally part of his setlist, Springsteen called the treatment of immigrant families at the American border “so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging,” according to a transcript provided on his official website.
“We have heard people in high position in the American government blaspheme in the name of God and country that it is a moral thing to assault the children amongst us,” he added. “May God save our souls.”
Springsteen reminded the audience a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
“Now, there have been many, many days of recent when you could certainly have an argument over that. But I’ve lived long enough to see that in action and to put some faith in it. But I’ve also lived long enough to know that arc doesn’t bend on its own,” he said. “It needs all of us leaning on it, nudging it in the right direction day after day. You gotta keep, keep leaning.”
Springsteen joins a chorus of outraged Hollywood figures who have lambasted the zero-tolerance immigration policy that has led to the separation of more than 2,000 children from their parents.
Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jimmy Kimmel have spoken out in recent days.
The writers behind two television series, Starz’s “Vida” and Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” have rallied to raise money for immigrant families.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said he intends to sign an executive order halting the practice.
Springsteen said on Sunday that his intention was not to preach to the audience — “I never believed that people come to my shows, or rock shows to be told anything,” he said — but to remind them “of who we are and who we can be collectively.”
“Music does those things pretty well sometimes, particularly these days when some reminding of who we are and who we can be isn’t such a bad thing,” he said.