How Trump’s Cruelty Fueled Padma Lakshmi’s Fight for Immigrants squib

Dominic Valente/Hulu

I’m an immigrant—and I’m not alone. Padma Lakshmi opens each episode of her new Hulu series Taste the Nation with that mantra, and it’s one that’s powering the food author and TV host during the Trump administration’s all-out war on immigrants, from the “Muslim ban” and separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border to the recent suspension of immigrant-worker visas through 2021.

“I find this disconnect between the policies that are made in Washington and how they actually affect people on the ground,” says Lakshmi. “I think it should be a requirement for each of these lawmakers deciding on immigration policy to embed themselves in these communities and see what life is like, and see if these people pose as much of a threat as they think they do.”

With each episode of Taste the Nation, Lakshmi has done just that—planting herself within a community to learn more about its inhabitants through their food. Whether it’s Mexican-American folks at the border or South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee, the descendants of West-African slaves, Lakshmi’s mission is to shed light on the real things that make America great.

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