Padma Lakshmi Says She Knows the 'Trauma' of Families Separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border

Padma Lakshmi can empathize with the thousands of children being torn from their parents due to the Trump administration’s child separation policy.

Lakshmi opened up about her own immigration story while speaking at the VH1 Trailblazer Honors, saying she too was once separated from her family.

“When I was two my mother left India to build a better life for us here in America while I stayed behind with my grandparents,” she said. “I was loved and safe. But still, I’d sit at the gates of my home every day, waiting for my mom to come home and take me back with her.”

The Top Chef host, 47, said she lived apart from her mother for two years before finally moving to America as a family — but the trauma of the situation lasted much longer.

“It was confusing and anguishing,” she said. “I know firsthand what that trauma feels like and how long its devastating effects can last.”

Since President Donald Trump’s administration rolled out its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy — which prosecutes undocumented immigrants who cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico — more than 2,300 children have been separated from their parents since April.


Last week, the president did an about-face, signing an executive order reversing his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents when they illegally cross at the border.

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Lakshmi joined a chorus of other celebrities who have also spoken out against the policy, including Jada Pinkett Smith, Chrissy Teigen, Lin-Manuel Miranda and more.

VH1 is celebrating Trailblazers who have made it their mission to help others Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET.

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