Appearing as a guest on Monday's Tavis Smiley show on PBS, liberal actor Martin Sheen claimed that the United States is to blame for causing so many immigrants to leave Central American countries and travel to the U.S. as he complained about past interventions in some of those countries. The liberal actor concluded that "we're looking at what we have wrought."
His comments came during a discussion after host Smiley brought up President Donald Trump's recent decision to end the DACA program that benefits young illegal immigrants. After Sheen commented that it is important to "defend these young people," the PBS host suggested that there is "hatred" for illegal immigrants as he followed up:
Take me back -- I want to juxtapose or have you juxtapose for me, Martin, the hatred that you had to endure when you started out as an actor all those years ago. And that name -- Ramon Estevez -- didn't serve you so well. Juxtapose the hatred that you experienced then with the same kind of hatred that you see this week -- that you've seen this week that's been, you know, applied against the very same people.
After Sheen recounted what his life was like when he was younger and trying to get into acting, Smiley followed up with another question about immigration:
If we are a nation of immigrants, what has happened that's caused this to happen? What is it about the story that we're writing at this moment that's caused us to turn on immigrants if we are a nation of immigrants?
Sheen began his response by complaining about the U.S.'s history with Central American countries:
That's the fundamental question of course. Particularly, let's talk about the Hispanic community specifically. There is not a nation between Mexico and Panama that has not been affected by the United States either militarily, economically, or outright colonialized, you know, all of Central America.
Referring to the war against communism in the 1980s, he added:
So most of these people are coming from these countries -- and the war in El Salvador, for example. So many hundreds of thousands of Salvadorians fled that war. We were supporting this very conservative, right-wing, basically military dictatorship all those years until it was finally -- a peace accord was achieved. The same thing in Nicaragua, you know, we invaded that country how many times in the last century and in this century and controlled their governments, controlled their economy?
The liberal actor's conclusion was that the U.S. is to blame for large number of immigrants wanting to leave the region for the U.S.:
So all of the immigrants that are in the country from those countries and whose children are the, you know, came with them as tiny ones and some were even born here, probably would not be here in such numbers if it hadn't been for our involvement in their countries in this hemisphere. So we're looking at what we have -- what we have wrought.