Outernational, Tom Morello cover ‘Deportees’ to protest Arizona immigration law
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Politically charged New York rock group Outernational has enlisted Tom Morello for a new recording of Woody Guthrie’s poignant immigration ballad “Deportees” that the band is making available as a free download in response to Arizona’s recent law targeting illegal immigrants.
The group has put out the song, arranged as a accordion-driven waltz, ahead of a planned protest against the law in Arizona on Saturday, which band members say they will attend.
“We recorded ‘Deportees’ with Tom Morello and are going down to Arizona on May 29th to stand with all the people courageously fighting back against these unjust and immoral laws,” Outernational’s Miles Solay said in a statement issued this week. “Outernational is about a whole new world, a world without borders and nations. Todos somos illegales. We are all illegals.”
Morello, long known for his own politically provocative music with Rage Against the Machine and the Nightwatchman, said, “Prejudice and ignorance are at the core of Arizona’s recent immigration legislation and Woody Guthrie’s ‘Deportees’ was written to combat just that sort of prejudice.’
Guthrie wrote the song following a 1948 plane crash near Los Gatos Canyon in Central California, killing 28 Mexican migrant workers and four Americans. The New York Times report of the crash listed the names of the three flight crew members and a security guard, but referred to the Mexican workers only as “deportees.’
It was originally popularized by Guthrie’s friend Pete Seeger and subsequently covered by numerous artists including Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Guthrie’s son Arlo and Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, the Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton and the Byrds.