In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, actor Bambadjan Bamba came out as an undocumented immigrant. Bamba, who has a recurring role in The Good Place as the best friend of Chidi (William Jackson Harper), came to the United States as a child from Côte d’Ivoire in the mid ’90s. At the time, his family was seeking asylum from the political upheaval in their home country. Bamba told the Times that he did not know about his undocumented immigration status until he was almost an adult. “It wasn’t until I started applying for college that I realized that I couldn’t get financial aid,” Bamba said. “I had to have a conversation with my parents, and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah … The asylum case didn’t work out.’”
Bamba told the paper that he wanted to come forward with his experience to help defend the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which President Trump has made efforts to rescind. Despite fears that it could affect his career moving forward, Bamba was more alarmed that the cancelation of DACA could force him out of the country and away from his daughter. He also explained that he wanted people to know that the issue affects undocumented immigrants of many different ethnicities, though most of the public focus is put on Latino immigrants. “Black immigrants really don’t have that much support,” Bamba said. “And for people from the Caribbean or Africa, there’s a shame culture around being undocumented. No one even wants to come out and talk about it.”
Bamba’s conversation with the Times comes as several Senate Democrats, including Bernie Sanders, are threatening to block a vote for the upcoming year-end budget deal unless it includes legislation to fix DACA.
The actor can also be seen in Grey’s Anatomy, Parenthood, and in the upcoming Black Panther.