10 Celebrities Who Were Refugees Coming to America

There are many celebrities who came to America to further their careers, but there are surprisingly many who immigrated just to have a safe life. Due to President Trump’s attempt to create a Muslim ban, there have been many celebrities coming forward to speak out against it. So which celebrities spoke from experience? Here are 10 celebrities who were refugees coming to America.

1. Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

The Black Swan star was born in the Ukrainian city, Chernivtsi. When she was seven, her family immigrated to Los Angeles in 1991. According to her husband, Ashton Kutcher she had to get a refugee visa. “My wife came to this country on a refugee visa in the middle of the Cold War! My blood is boiling right now!” he tweeted. “We have never been a nation built on fear. Compassion that is the root ethic of America. Our differences are fundamental 2R sustainability.”

The actress has opened up in the past about her family’s move. “My parents both had amazing jobs, and I was very lucky,” she told The Telegraph. “We were not poor when we lived in Russia, whereas most people were very unfortunate. My parents thought that my brother and I would have no future there, though, so we moved to the United States.” She said her parents were just allowed to take $250 dollar with them. Their degrees and jobs were also not transferable to the U.S.

Kunis’ early years in America aren’t very clear for the actress. “It must have been frightening because I blocked it out. I don’t have any memories. Apparently, my parents tell me, I cried every morning and when I came back from school.”

2. Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan onstage during the 70th Annual Tony Awards | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The singer fled to America with her family in 1960. Years later she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, seven Grammys, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She still talks openly about her experience as a refugee. “My dad brought us here to be raised in freedom,” she said on The Late Show. “It’s bad. You don’t see anybody fleeing the United States.” She then talked about the country potentially turning away refugees. “We can’t let that happen. This is what we’re about. We just have to do it the right way.”

3. Wyclef Jean

Wycleaf Jean

Wyclef Jean and Shakira at the Grammy Awards | CBS

The producer is from Croix-des-Bouquets in Haiti. His family came to America when he was 10 years old. “My generation faced starvation [over the course of] many hunger crises,” he explained to Americas Quartley. “Families fled Haiti because of Baby Doc’s coup.” Since then he has been very outspoken about the struggles Haiti faces, raised money for multiple causes, and has even tried to run for president in Haiti.

4. Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor at the 2010 New Yorker Festival | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

The musician was born in the Soviet Union. Her father was a photographer, and her mother was a music teacher. They left for the United States in 1989 when she was nine years old. “It was pretty intimidating,” the singer said. “Even then it was seen as a real betrayal to leave.” Their passports were destroyed by border security, according to The Independent so they were not allowed to go back. Her family ended up settling in the Bronx.

5. Madeleine Albright

Madeline Albright

Madeleine Albright attends the 2016 Concordia Summit | Paul Morigi/Getty Images

The politician is the first woman to ever hold the position of the United States secretary of state. However, her early years were tough. Her father was the press attaché at the Czechoslovak Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia. When it was disintegrated by Adolf Hitler, her family was sent into exile and made their way to London. In 1948 the family emigrated again and went through Ellis Island. Her father was seeking political asylum for being against the communism that was threatening Eastern Europe.

6. Marlene Dietrich

The Blue Angel

The Blue Angel | UFA Tonfilm

The Witness for the Prosecution star was born in Germany and her acting career was launched there. Dietrich was very much against Adolf Hitler. She refused his associates who asked her to make films in Germany, and was therefore banned from the country. She became an American citizen in 1939, then traveled with allied troops to sing for them during the war.

7. Albert Einstein

albert einstein

German born American physicist Albert Einstein | Central Press/Getty Images

The scientist was a Nazi target due to his fame and for winning a Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. So he and his wife fled Nazi Germany and went to the United States in 1933. He went on to come up with the revolutionary theory of relativity.

8. Miloš Forman

Milos Forman

Miloš Forman at Alice Tully Hall | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

The One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest director is from Czechoslovakia. He sadly became an orphan because his mother and adoptive father were killed in Nazi concentration camps. After the war, his country was under communist rule and after it was invaded, he sought refuge in the United States.

9. K’naan


K’naan | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/GettyImages

The rapper and instrumentalist was born in Somalia. His father came to America first and drove a taxi in New York City. Years later a civil war broke out and the rest of the family followed, when K’naan was 12 years old. They later relocated to Canada.

10. Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger | Leon Neal/Getty Images

The diplomat was born in Germany, and his family decided to flee in 1938. They made it to the United States in New York City when he was 15-years-old. He went on to become a naturalized citizen, attend Harvard, and for years he has been playing a big part in America’s foreign policy.  He along with Madeleine Albright and more have spoken out against the blocking of Syrian refugees into the country.

Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice

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