WASHINGTON — Alyssa Milano, with more than 3.3 Twitter followers, is among the most politically outspoken celebrities on social media. Her tweets about the FCC’s repeal of most of its net neutrality rules drew the attention and pushback of the agency’s chairman, Ajit Pai.
Recently she has been urging Democrats to not give in on demanding legislation to protect Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States since they were minors and face deportation if President Donald Trump follows through with plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Last week, Milano appeared at a rally in Los Angeles at the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), urging her to demand Dreamer legislation as part of a government funding package to be passed by Jan. 19. The rally was organized by groups including United We Dream.
“Democrats made a promise to the Dreamers to use their leverage to pass the Dream Act, so members of Congress who don’t stand with immigrant youth are choosing to stand with Trump’s agenda,” Milano tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM.
Trump and other allies have already accused Democrats of being obstructionists, but he is demanding that funding for a border wall be part of any deal on immigration legislation. Milano says that Trump “is holding nearly 800,000 Dreamers hostage, for a wall he promised that will not make our nation safer.”
Milano says what has surprised her about the first year of the Trump administration is that “there is no end to what he is trying to roll back and I think that is surprising.”
Last year Milano took part in special election campaigns and volunteered and walked precincts for Jon Ossoff, a Democrat who ran in a Georgia special election. He lost. But she said she plans to work this year for midterm candidates.
She also has been working on the #MeToo movement, and says that in 2018, “We are going to fight, especially in our industry to ensure that equality is a real thing, and hopefully that will translate and tricke down to other corporations, other business, other unions.”
She admits that some of the vitriolic response she gets to her tweets on social media “is something that I don’t think I ever will really get used to. And it is something that will always hurt, this idea that because I am an actress or celebrity, I should have no say in what happens to our country, which is super ironic because we have a celebrity who is president of the United States, and everyone seems to really care what he has to say.”
She adds, “As much as we see these tools like Twitter being used for what may not be the best intentions … on the other side of that is it seems to be used for such positive activism as well. I guess those things go hand in hand, even though it is a tough dichotomy to swallow.”
“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs from 2-3 p.m. ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.