Playwright and singer/performer Lin-Manuel Miranda debuted the new music video on Wednesday for the “Hamilton Mixtape” album track titled “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).” The video first appeared on NBC’s TODAY show on Wednesday and features Rizwan Ahmed of “The Night Of” and “Rogue One.” In the video, Ahmed is seen emerging from a subway car while the visuals focus on a frightened father and son amid the rubble of an armed attack. Ahmed was born in the UK of Pakistani parents.
The debut of the video happened on the same day that President Donald Trump hosted the families of several persons at the White House who lost their lives in crimes committed by illegal immigrants. “You lost the people that you love because our government refused to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and that’s including the existing immigration laws,” Trump said. Among the people Trump invited to the White House was Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was shot to death by an illegal immigrant who had been released from jail hours earlier.
In the video, Ahmed plays Riz MC, who raps: “Ay yo aye, immigrants we don’t like that/ Na they don’t play, British empire strikes back/ They beating us like 808’s and high hats/ At our own game of invasion, but this ain’t Iraq.” In the background can be heard automatic gunfire and explosions.
Ahmed raps “Who these ‘fugees? What did they do for me/ But contribute new dreams/ Taxes and tools, swagger and food to eat?/ Cool, they flee war zones, but the problem ain’t ours/ Even if our bombs landed on them like the Mayflower.” A group of immigrants is seen in the video. representing various countries while they listen to a faint radio news report about “border security,” while the news anchor says, “It’s really astonishing that in a country founded by immigrants, ‘immigrant’ has somehow become a bad word.”
The visuals then segue into a sweat shop showing immigrant workers sewing together American flags that then turn into shots of “America’s ghostwriters” working blue-collar jobs.
Rene Perez Joglar, also known as Residente, raps in Spanish: "By land or by sea, false identity, we leap over walls, we float on rafts, we fight like Sandino in Nicaragua. We are like the plants that grow without water, without an American passport because half of Gringo-land is Mexican soil. You've got to be a real son-of-a-bitch. We plant the tree and they eat the fruit." Residente is a Puerto Rican and thus an American citizen. Miranda was born in New York City of Puerto Rican parents.
Augusto Sandino was a Nicaraguan revolutionary who led insurgents against US Marines in a rebellion against the Nicaraguan government in the 1920s and 30s. Sandino became the namesake of the later Sandinistas of the 1970s to the present that founded an anti-democratic government in Nicaragua that was supported by Cuba, Libya, East Germany and the Soviet Union.
“Immigrants” was directed by Tomás Whitmore and executive produced by Miranda and Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez has directed several films, including "El Mariachi" and "Spy Kids." Other performers included K’naan and Snow Tha Product.
Miranda is the writer and principal performer of “Hamilton”: a hit broadway show that uses rap lyrics and music to portray the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
At a performance of “Hamilton” in 2016, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon recognized Vice President-elect Mike Pence in the audience and read out loud a statement jointly composed by Miranda and others. The statement called on Pence to “uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for seeing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations." A sweepstakes has been established in cooperation with Prizeo.com to support of the Immigrants: We Get The Job Done Coalition, which is a coalition of a number of left-of-center ethnic organizations.