“Criminal” is Fiona Apple’s most requested song for use on TV and in movies, and the singer has decided to put the 2019 and 2020 royalties she earns from the song to powerful use, Rolling Stone reports. “After months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I’ve become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help,” she writes on Tumblr. “Of course you can donate money for the bare necessities, toothbrushes, blankets, tents, Pedialyte, etc., but … it seems to me that the best way I can help detainees is to contribute to payment of their legal fees.” She points specifically to While They Wait, a nonprofit that raises money to pay for refugees’ and asylum seekers’ necessities, legal services, and immigration fees as they wait to find out whether they will be allowed to stay in the US.
“What they need is representation and guidance because these people are being prosecuted as criminals just for asking for asylum,” Apple writes. “When they are separated from their children they need help navigating the system. They need to be bailed out of prison. They need money to pay for the ankle bracelets they are forced to rent and wear while awaiting arraignment, for crying out loud. WhileTheyWait helps families through the entire process so they don’t have to stand in court alone, so that they are not, in the end, treated like criminals.” She challenged other songwriters to donate the royalties from one of their songs to the same organization, or another one of their choosing. (One-fifth of asylum seekers come from this country.)