For many Americans, the reality of war at home is beyond imagination.
But in a new Alicia Keys video titled "Let Me In — We Are Here," images of what it'd look like if war arrived in southern California blast across the screen. As a mother gets her children ready for school, an eerie news broadcast plays in the background.
"Militias have launched a new wave of attacks on American forces," an anchor on the television says.
Trying to ignore the TV, the mother — played by Keys — keeps talking to her child about a friend at school. But the news becomes more and more frightening.
And then a bomb hits. The kitchen windows blow out, the screen goes dark, and suddenly a suburban street in California is up in flames. What would you do?
In this frightening alternate reality, Keys and her family flee to the border and try to cross in Baja California, Mexico.
As they approach, Mexican border agents race through the desert to meet them at the fence. They walkie-talkie their locations to each other, and share information about how many American refugees are getting prepared to cross. Helicopters fly overhead and bombs drop in the distance. The Americans hustle, but they don't get to the fence fast enough. Border agents beat them there.
It seems certain that it's about to end badly.
And then: the border agents let them in. They help carry babies and children through a hole in the fence, they show them where water is and assure the frightened refugees that they are safe now. Once inside Mexico, the Americans discover refugee camps of tents filled with southern California residents, all working together to share resources and stay alive.
"You're safe here," a guard says.
"There are more refugees today than at any point in history. And more than half of them are children," a caption reads before the credits roll. "We demand our governments act with love."
Keys' video was clearly created in response to the anti-refugee sentiment currently running rampant in America. Since the Syrian war started in 2011, more than 4.8 million Syrians have been displaced. As a response, America has pledged to take a measly 10,000 refugees in, or about .002 percent. But we're even falling short of that goal, while countries like Germany have taken in upwards of 500,000 refugees.
Sadly, the American response has not been so different from how Americans felt about taking in Jews during the Holocaust. In a November poll conducted by MSNBC and Survey Monkey, around 56 percent of Americans said they approved of allowing more Syrian refugees into the country.
Generally, Americans' fears of refugees stem from a fear of terrorists. The sad irony is that Syrian refugees are running from extremist groups like ISIS who have destroyed their homes, only to find that countries like America won't give them refuge because they think they are terrorists themselves.
In recent months, the fences and walls dividing our country from others have become less and less metaphorical.