Famous Latin Songs About Immigration

Besides being an entertainment channel, Latin music is also a powerful tool when it comes to define and represent different social realities. One of the issues that Latin music has touched extensively is immigration. The nostalgia and cruel realities people experience when moving from south to north have been depicted in different hits from every corner of the Latin music universe. From Manu Chao's "Cladestino" to Los Tigres del Norte's "La Jaula De Oro," the following are some of most powerful Latin songs about immigration.

"Clandestino" - Manu Chao

Manu Chao performing
Xavi Torrent / Contributor / Getty Images

This track is one of the very best songs recorded by Latin Alternative artist Manu Chao. "Clandestino" confronts immigration in a global context where people from developing countries looking for a better life ended up trapped between their hopes and the discrimination they suffer in a place far from home. When it comes to bring together immigration and oppression, "Clandestino" is as good as it gets.

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"El Soñador" - La Sonora Ponceña

Besides being one of the longest Salsa songs ever recorded by La Sonora Ponceña (it lasts over eight minutes), "El Soñador" (The Dreamer), describes the unfortunate story of a man who dies in his attempt to live his own American dream. Although the story is tragic, the sound of this track is fantastic. A wonderful tune for hitting the dance floor.

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"Visa Para Un Sueño" - Juan Luis Guerra

This track is a good example of the way Latin music is capable of mixing meaningful lyrics with an exhilarating melody that uplifts your soul. Besides being one of the most popular songs ever recorded by Juan Luis Guerra, "Visa Para Un Sueño" is another tune dealing with the making of the American dream, an issue that comes up very often when talking about immigration. Apart from that, this Merengue track is a great song to play in a Latin party.

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"Fronteras / Los Ilegales / Tan Lejos De Dios" - Various Artists

From the soundtrack of the musical documentary Hecho En Mexico , this track contains a mix of songs featuring Ali Gua Gua, Pato Machete, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, El Haragan y Compania and Emmanuel Del Real. This is one of the best songs included in the movie's segment Fronteras (Borders), which deals with the issues surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States. The lyrics of this tracks are fantastic.

Sneek Peek of 'Fronteras'

"El Indocumentado" - El Tri

The lyrics of this song illustrate the problems and feelings of an illegal alien in the US. In this meaningful yet colorful track El Tri, one of the most influential bands in the history of Mexican Rock, makes a reference to some of the most common issues surrounding illegal immigration in the US: Arriving as a wetback, learning English, feeling homesick and trying to stay away from the migra (the immigration police).

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"Sur O No Sur" - Kevin Johansen

This melodic song by Argentinian-American musician and singer Kevin Johansen reflects the ambivalence of moving back and forth between the north and the south. The following sentence, which is included in "Sur O No Sur," exemplifies this ambivalence: "I would like to stay home but I no longer know where it is..." Besides the lyrics, this track offers a catchy sound defined by the traditional beats of Andean music.

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"Ave Que Emigra" - Gaby Moreno

This sweet song is all about being homesick. In this track, Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno talks about those simple memories that make us fall in love with our homeland. "Ave Que Emigra" (Bird That Migrates) is a Spanish-language track included in Gaby Moreno's bilingual work , one of the best Latin music abums of 2011.

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"Llego Mi Pasaporte" - Timbalive

This track offers a different perspective of the immigration issue. "Llego Mi Pasaporte" represents the joy of getting an American passport and being free to do whatever you want without worrying about deportation. The Miami based band came up with a funny video for this song featuring an actor playing President Obama. While "El Indocumentado" deals with some of the issues faced by Mexican immigrants, "Llego Mi Pasaporte" is more about issues surrounding Cuban immigrants.

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"Mojado" - Ricardo Arjona

This track touches one of the most common themes regarding immigration to the US: The concept of mojado (wetback), which makes a reference to all of those who have crossed the Rio Grande river in order to reach American territory. In this song, you can fully appreciate Ricardo Arjona's talent as a songwriter. The poetic lyrics of this song include memorable sentences such as this one: "The wetback is wet because of the tears that nostalgia evokes." "Mojado" is definitely one of the most powerful Latin songs about immigration.

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"La Jaula De Oro" - Los Tigres del Norte

Immigration-related issues have defined a big portion of the repertoire produced by the popular Norteno band Los Tigres del Norte. Out of all the songs recorded by the band about this topic, "La Jaula De Oro" (The Golden Cage) is by far the most popular tune ever produced by the San Jose based group. This track describes the irony of an illegal alien who enjoys the wealth of the American society without having the freedom to travel outside the country. A nice version of this song, featuring Colombian superstar Juanes, is included in the band's hit album .

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