While the United States continues to be a battleground for immigration rights, many of the country’s most famous stars once underwent immigration issues of their own. From stories of delayed U.S. work visas to illegal immigration status, much of our pop culture would be extremely different if not for the daring moves of these celebrities.
Leading Hollywood lady Salma Hayek was an illegal immigrant for a short period in the United States, when her visa expired unknowingly. Hayek eventually returned to her home country of Mexico to apply for a visa renewal. The starlet said she had an extremely difficult time getting any roles when she first arrived in California, stating that the Hollywood of the early 1990’s was a very racist place.
“It was inconcievable to American directors and producers that a Mexican woman could have a lead role,” Hayek explained in a 2010 interview with V magazine. However, today Hayek believes the movie industry has become much more inclusive, welcoming more diversity to major roles.
According to Fox News, former bodybuilder/movie star/California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger violated his visa in his early 20s, working illegally as a bricklayer in the 1970s before he obtained a resident visa that would have lawfully allowed him to do so. The star, who only had a B-1 visa at the time, was only allowed to do training and competitions under its regulations.
Canadian-born Michael J. Fox may have never gone Back to The Future if border crossing problems had arisen. The actor admits that his work visa had not come through upon entering the states, and he was wracked with nervousness upon entering the country, according to Fox News.