Gloria Estefan’s family fled Cuba in 1960. “My dad brought us here to be raised in freedom,” Estefan told Stephen Colbert on Wednesday’s edition of The Late Show.
The singer, who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom alongside her husband, Emilio, explained to the late-night host that many dangers still exist for Cubans fleeing their country here in 2015. “It’s bad. You don’t see anybody fleeing the United States,” Estefan said, before noting that the waters between Cuba and Florida were so treacherous that many don’t survive the trip.
Allowing refugees, specifically those from Syria, into the U.S. has become a charged issue in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13. Colbert asked Estefan is she had an “emotional reaction” to the debate.
“I have an emotional reaction, but I have a human reaction as well,” she replied. “We all have to be careful, obviously we’re living in very dangerous times. There are ways to help this out. Women and children, perhaps. If we were to bring mothers and children, obviously be careful how you bring them in.”
Estefan then recalled reading about the Holocaust, and how Cuba and the United States had turned away a boat of Jewish refugees, many of whom were later killed.
“We can’t let that happen,” she said. “This is what we’re about. We just have to do it the right way.”
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Watch the clip below.