8 Top Songs About Immigration

Songs about Immigration
Written by Corey Morgan

Songs about Immigration

Songs about immigration are a great way to spread awareness about the plight of immigrants, those who have immigrated to another country.

Many people have left their homes and made the harrowing journey to a foreign land in search of a better life. Whether it’s through war, poverty, or other circumstances, immigrants are risking their lives in order to have a better life for themselves and their families.

Songs about immigration can be about the immigrants themselves and their journey, or about the effects of immigration on their home country.

8 Songs About Immigration

1. ‘Paper Planes’ by M.I.A.

M.I.A. - Paper Planes

M.I.A. uses this song to further the stereotype of the dangerous illegal immigrant by boasting about her ability to forge documents and threaten physical harm.

She is a British citizen of Sri Lankan origin, and her efforts to enter the United States on a visa resulted in a months-long bureaucratic labyrinth, which she attributes to her dark coloring and exotic true name, Mathangi Arulpragasam.

The song’s instrumental foundation is a sample from “Straight To Hell,” a 1982 Clash song that deals with similar themes of immigration and xenophobia. Diplo proposed using a sample in this way.

2. Immigrant Song’ by Led Zeppelin.

Immigrant Song (Remaster)

The members of Led Zeppelin intended for this song to have a lighthearted tone by drawing parallels between their travels and those of the Vikings, who fought off hordes of invaders to establish new colonies. Some of their listeners probably took it seriously because the band wasn’t renowned for being amusing.

3. America’ by Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond's America

This is an homage to the American ideal of immigration, where people from all walks of life are encouraged to come to the land of opportunity.

Diamond was raised in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, which was heavily influenced by European immigration. Both his paternal and paternal grandmothers emigrated to the United States from Europe.

Michael Dukakis, a third-generation American, chose this song as his campaign anthem in his unsuccessful 1988 presidential run.

4. ‘The Refugee’ by U2

The purpose of this song is to draw parallels between the immigrant experiences of Irish-Americans and African-Americans. It’s a hidden gem from their breakthrough album in the States, War, which came on their third studio effort. Although the song was popular, U2 never performed it live.

Although Steve Lillywhite, who recorded their first two albums, contributed to this record, fellow Irishman Bill Whelan is credited as the producer. Whelan eventually became Riverdance’s producer.

5. “American oxygen” by Rihanna

Rihanna - American Oxygen

Rihanna’s “American oxygen” is a 2015 song that she wrote. She was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in 1988 and is better known by her full name.

The American ideal and freedom are the themes of her song. Aspiring to achieve the “American dream” is a theme she discusses. Since its inception by the nation’s forefathers, the American dream has inspired and motivated nearly every citizen.

Liberty, racial and religious tolerance, and the pursuit of happiness are central themes. She describes young men and women working with bright futures ahead of them.

Part of realizing one’s dreams in the United States is working hard and achieving one’s objectives. In America, everyone should have the chance to achieve success on their own terms.

America’s pursuit of the Dream has been fraught with difficulty. Video clips depicting Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, rioting, immigrants, and war are intercut with shots of Rihanna performing in front of an American flag.

Everything I’ve discussed above has had a significant role in shaping the American Dream. Civil Rights Movement leader and influential activist Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed for racial equality, a cause crucial to the concept of the “American Dream.”

6. ‘Prayer of the Refugee’ by Rise Against

Rise Against - Prayer Of The Refugee (Official Music Video)

The protagonist of this song is an immigrant or refugee who has arrived in the United States in search of a better life. Frequently, he is treated unfairly by both the general public and the authorities.

Leader of Rise Against and songwriter Tim McIlrath told music publication Songfacts: “We all know what it’s like to be uprooted, whether physically or emotionally, and that’s what “Prayer of the Refugee” was addressing. Changes in one’s life circumstances necessitate a transition to a new phase.

That song seems to be alluding to the fact that the singer is currently not in his or her “home” environment. However, that song offers a deeper symbolic, perhaps even more emotional, take on the idea of alienation from one’s group or even one’s own self.”

7. Americano by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga - Americano (Official Audio)

This tune laments the tyranny of the American state. It’s a democracy, but minorities like immigrants, gays, and those of different faiths have to follow the rules set by the majority. The lyrics to her songs always have more than one interpretation.

The unjust laws of the United States are the subject of this song, including those pertaining to immigration and LGBT rights. She draws parallels between the two by imagining a situation in which she falls in love with a girl from east L.A. (a predominantly Hispanic area), but they are unable to marry because of California’s anti-gay marriage laws.

8. Amerika by Young the Giant

Young the Giant - Amerika (In The Open)

This tune was conceived in response to Franz Kafka’s writings, an unfinished novel with the same title. There are numerous references to Kafka’s family’s immigration story in the novel.

“We find ourselves looking for our own ethics in the often-contradictory views of our divided American Modern Age and those of idealized cultures of our ancestors,” the band added.

The American mentality and the United States as a whole are both examined in this song “Amerika,” which examines these conflicts. Wanting to live the American Dream is to crave wealth, status, and sexual fulfillment. There’s awe involved. We are dissatisfied.

On this wild voyage, we learn that sometimes the rewards for our efforts leave us feeling emptier than before. Our deepest desires should be to have a safe place to call home and to know that we are loved and accepted.