Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Well, as long as they aren’t too wretched.
And only if they aren’t from shithole countries.
Plus, they better damn well assimilate with white Americans.
But even if they do come here legally,
Or, hell, even if their descendants are born here,
They’ll all occasionally be told to go back to where they came from.
Given our nation’s current political environment, that’s what the most famous portion of The New Colossus should say. But those aren’t the words penned by Emma Lazarus and subsequently cast in bronze inside the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. That selective and rather capricious sentiment regarding immigrants is not what the Statue of Liberty has come to represent since 1883.
Yet, that is the prevailing sentiment among the ruling party and President Donald Trump’s administration. In fact, it’s safe to say the aforementioned revised verses represent a much more immigrant-friendly attitude than that held by White House top adviser Stephen Miller, the man responsible for framing the president’s immigration policy.
Miller created the administration’s 2017 Muslim ban, prohibiting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. The 32-year-old known for white nationalist sympathies and racial dog whistles also told The New York Times that he’s responsible for convincing Trump to enact the current “zero tolerance” policy, resulting in rampant separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border.
In March 2017, current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, then Department of Homeland Security secretary, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that DHS was considering separating children from their parents as a deterrent against future illegal immigration.
Later that year, Miller said Emma Lazarus’ words were not synonymous with Lady Liberty, a common argument among white supremacists. In August 2017, he disputed the assertion that the Statue of Liberty and The New Colossus — the imperative emblazoned on the statue’s pedestal calling on the world to send their huddled masses to the U.S. — are connected.
Given how immigrants are being treated by our government and our fellow citizens, it’s time to take her beacon down. Leaving her up is cruelly misleading, like training a dog to come, only to kick him every time he obeys.
And that’s why the Statue of Liberty should be taken down. It no longer symbolizes this nation’s stance regarding people seeking refuge from abject poverty, persecution, and whatever else the depraved can inflict on fellow human beings.
The bronze plaque read by millions claims she is the “Mother of Exiles,” and that “from her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome.”
But given how immigrants are being treated by our government and our fellow citizens, it’s time to take her beacon down. Leaving her up is cruelly misleading, like training a dog to come, only to kick him every time he obeys.
Immigrant children being separated from their parents by the thousands because of a policy admittedly penned by Miller (i.e., not because of some fictional 1997 law passed by Democrats) and then used as literal political hostages?
Take her down. When 2,000 children, some as young as 8 months, are separated from their parents — not smugglers and human traffickers — within six weeks of the policy’s implementation, and only 700 were separated by DHS in all of 2017, Lady Liberty needs to go on a sabbatical while we straighten this out.
White House officials like DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoing the president in calling due process for immigrants (as specified by international law) “loopholes” that are being exploited by people seeking asylum in the U.S.? Numerous reports that asylum seekers are going to designated points of entry, only to be fed a line of bullshit that those entry points are full and can’t accommodate them, like some sick game of humanitarian keep-away?
The copper gal needs to take a break and go into therapy. Maybe be put on suicide watch.
Are some of these people crossing the border illegally? Sure. But too many people, including many in the Trump administration, are calling asylum seekers criminals because they are entering the country without a visa.
The fact is, it is not illegal to enter the U.S. to seek asylum. There is no such thing as an asylum-seeking visa. You have to enter the U.S. to ask for it. These families are surrendering at the border (or at least trying futilely), per policy, to do so. If you also call these immigrants criminals and say they need to be separated from their children because children shouldn’t be with criminals, please quit reading Mein Drumpf.
Having the Statue of Liberty as one of the most iconic symbols of America is like paying to be the top Google result for the query “Where can I go to not live and die like an animal?”
Nevertheless, there are some people who enter the U.S. illegally. That shouldn’t be a surprise given how many parts of the rest of the world suck ass compared to the U.S. I know we’re doing our damnedest to catch up with their human rights records, but most Americans truly have no idea how fortunate we are.
Countless immigrants — legal and undocumented— come here and live in what some of us would consider Third World accommodations. Yet, compared to what they endured in their home country, it’s undoubtedly way better than what they had before. A flushable indoor toilet and a significantly reduced risk of getting killed by drug gangs or civil war qualifies as heaven for far too many around the world. Of all human motivators, desperation is among the strongest.
And where do you think they’ll go? Probably the country famous for a giant statue that literally begs for the world to send us its unwanted people. Having the Statue of Liberty as one of the most iconic symbols of America is like paying to be the top Google result for the query “Where can I go to not live and die like an animal?”
That’s why she needs to go on vacation. If the Trump administration is truly serious about reducing illegal immigration, they’d take down the Statue of Liberty. That would send a much stronger message than putting thousands of kids in cages after ripping them from their parents. All that does is make us look like heartless assholes with no appreciation for historical context.
In the meantime, they should at least take a Sharpie to edit the bronze plaque. After the final lines, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” belongs the disclaimer “which belongs to Mr. Trump, and it says ‘stay the fuck out.'”