The New Colossus

I met an otherwise conservative old gentleman yesterday with a refreshing answer to the immigration question. Said he: “I’d welcome them!”

“This nation was built on immigration, we’re all immigrants -except the Native Americans- and I believe there’s room for plenty more. There’s obviously work so let them come.”

That’s the kind of empathy I think is necessary before we can address the real problem of immigration: what is driving refugees to cross our borders?

If Iowans suddenly started flooding into Kansas, only the most self-centered xenophobe would conclude it was for Kansas’ superior character. The rest would wonder, what is happening in Iowa to drive all those people from their homes? What industry is destroying the farms and businesses leaving Iowans no choice but to move off? More than likely it would be the same culprits that are at work in Mexico.

Big Agra and the usual multinationals, aided by the traditional ruling elite, have been raping Mexico and Central America for years, forcing the populations to move north, not for greener pastures, but any pasture at all. Mexicans are not coming to America because they want to be Americans. They do not embrace American culture, even our language. They are a displaced people. Let’s welcome them into our system and together we can address what powers are at work which have stolen their homelands. The forces are multinational, but the tools are American. They are the World Bank and friends. Our government.

It wasn’t always thus. I chanced to look up Emma Lazarus’ poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty where there are more words than form the fabled phrase we know by heart. To me they reflect a grand ideal that today serves only to inflate the American sense of self-importance. Time to go back to school lest The New Colossus (Mother of Exiles) become like the old.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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!”

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to The New Colossus

  1. Avatar CJ says:

    The only people complaining about “too many foreigners” are people who are either ignorant or are themselves lacking the skills necessary to get work. There were problems in Europe in the 40s-70s like this, where large numbers of immigrant workers moved north to take manual labor jobs or jobs requiring little actual skill that the northern Europeans didn’t want. Then, after a while, the Europeans started complaining that there were too many foreigners taking away all those valuable jobs. Yeah right–like you’d ever see a German out in a field picking Strawberries for .02 cents a basket! Same goes for Americans. The typical American does not want to be the busboy or the dishwasher in the restaurant, or the migrant farm worker, or the house maid. I think people only complain about all the “foreigners” because they’ve been brainwashed by the hype in the media.

    Now, if you want to discuss other issues, such as money it costs for illegals in the school system and/or health care, that is an entirely different issue.

    I saw a wonderful cartoon years ago. It was a picture of two white men holding up a sign towards some immigrant workers that said “GO HOME FOREIGNERS”, but behind the two white guys were two Indians with the same sign towards the two white guys.

  2. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    The following is from Scott Ritter’s current commentary about The Wall being constructed in Baghdad between Sunnis and Shia titled, ‘Mr Bush, Tear Down These Walls!’

    ….I was recently in the southern Texas city of McAllen, where I was asked by a Hispanic-American what my opinion of the proposed wall along the Mexican-U.S. border was. I told her that I was from New York and as such lacked the intimacy of comprehension about the reality of the immigration situation that someone who lived right on the border might have. However, I said, as a New Yorker I knew a few things about immigration. I’ve had the pleasure of doing a few tours with a fire department in a city in upstate New York, working in the heart of Main Street, USA. There one cannot help but notice that the overwhelming percentage of people living and working in the neighborhood in question is Mexican in origin and, upon a more detailed examination, is from the troubled Mexican city of Oaxaca. While they lived in Oaxaca, these people were racked by crime, poverty and civil strife. In their new home in New York state, they operated as law-abiding residents, paying their taxes and contributing to society. I don’t know if their status in America was consistent with U.S. immigration law. I do know that their presence is a necessary one if this city is to complete the economic rebirth it is striving for. Just ask the firefighters.

    I have also taken the time to read the inscription at the Statue of Liberty, one of New York’s—and America’s—greatest monuments to the cause of liberty and freedom. It would do well to repeat it here: “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.” This statement is the very essence of what it means to be an American. I look at the wall this administration is building along the border with Mexico, and I feel nothing but shame toward a nation—my nation—that can so easily turn its back on the very people for whom Lady Liberty served as a beacon on their quest for freedom and liberty….

    for the full commentary go to…

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