By RoyDouglas Malonson, Chairman
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, –The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. — Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Emma Lazarus
In 1903, the poem by Lazarus was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and became to symbolize hope for those seeking freedom.
Paul Auster said The New Colossus’ poem from Lazarus reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope in America to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world.
Even as we speak, a new wave of immigrants are flowing into the country, but this time the welcome lamp is off and the arm of the statue is pointing in a direction South with a message to young mothers and children in crisis and running from persecution to “go back to where you came from”.
We MUST Understand the double standard when it comes to immigration in America.
White Power Americans have all but said “No” to Hispanic immigrants and the backlash continues to grow as some towns have passed local pseudo legislation prohibiting refugees to enter and others blocking buses on highways and entryways into towns with bodies and weapons.
John T. Cunningham once wrote that “The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the statue. However, it was Lazarus’s poem that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of “unofficial greeter” of incoming immigrants”.
According to a report on Polish immigration to America by Lenny Reisner, Steven Davis, and Linc Miara, the early 1800’s to the beginning of World War II, saw approximately 5 million Polish immigrants came to the United States. The Poles fled their country for various reasons. Some emigrants left to escape conscription, others left to seek better opportunities in America, and some fled from religious persecution.
The first wave of Polish immigrants, largely made up of intellectuals and poorer nobles, came between 1800 and 1860. This group fled their country mainly because of political insurrections.
In this period approximately 2.5 million Poles landed on Ellis Island. This group can be further broken down into two distinct groups: the more intelligent German Poles, and the lower class Russian and Austrian Poles. The German Poles fled from religious persecution by the Germans. Soon their relatives came to America to join their relatives. Some Polish people came because America was portrayed to be the land of opportunity and the promise of abundant job opportunities.
How different is the recent surge and current crisis involving young Central American children immigrating across the southern Texas border from any other time in American history?
In September 1963, the first boatload of Haitian refugees landed in South Florida. They asked for political asylum, but the Immigration Naturalization Service summarily rejected the request and the boat was sent back to Haiti.
By the late 1970s, crude sailboats, often nearly overflowing with refugees, began to arrive regularly.
Repeatedly, the INS used its resources to turn them back. In the 1990s, revolt, persecution, human rights violations, desperate poverty, and government corruption drove Haitians out and again
The United States Coast Guard has spent an average of $45,000 per day then intercepting, housing, and returning most Haitians to their homeland.
Now, news accounts indicate that, in recent months, some 290,000 illegal immigrants (primarily from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) have been settled, or will soon be settled, by the federal government.
It appears that Mother Liberty’s invitation and American history shows a double standard. This red carpet only applies to people White America feels comfortable with – clearly not to children in a humanitarian crisis fleeing persecution and abuse in their countries. They have vowed to return every one crossing the border.
Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas officials launch all out surges and round ups against innocent children reminds me of the days when then Alabama Governor George Wallace stood at the school house doors in defiance of an order to allow Blacks to study at the University of Alabama.
We MUST Understand that Lady Liberty is racist, if she only extends immigration to “acceptable races” and labels some others such as Haitians, Africans, Mexicans and Central American Hispanics unacceptable in the land of the free and home of the brave.
If true, the new message on Lady Liberty should read, “You may be tired, weak, hungry and poor, but if you are an illegal Black, Mexican or Central American Hispanic person in a humanitarian crisis seeking safe haven, new life and opportunity. Don’t Come Here!!”