Tag Archives: Statue of Liberty

Once more … about immigrants

I cannot resist offering another comment on that unpresidential epithet about immigrants from Haiti and Africa.

It might be my final comment. Then again, maybe not.

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump’s fit of pique earlier this week about immigrants who come here from s***hole countries hits me personally.

I am a direct descendant of Americans who chose to come to this country from a part of the world that once was considered a s***hole. All four of my grandparents were ethnic Greeks. They risked all they had to come to this country in the early 20th century.

What I haven’t discussed in this blog is how Greeks were treated by other immigrant groups with whom they lived in the Land of Opportunity. Perhaps you are aware that groups such as the Ku Klux Klan sought to intimidate Greeks who had settled in the United States. The Klan considered Greeks to be, um, subpar.

I will not equate what happened to those early Greek-Americans with what the Klan did to African-Americans at the time, or even to Vietnamese immigrants who came to this country in the 1970s after the end of the Vietnam War. Please know, though, that some Americans thought little of immigrants who came here from southern Europe.

They were thought to be from a s***hole place.

Discussion about immigration always catches my attention. It is because I grew up with a keen awareness of my ethnic background. My grandmothers particularly were keen to instruct my sisters and me about our heritage.

They were proud Greeks and they imbued that pride in all of their grandchildren.

So, when the president of the United States disparages immigrants who come here willingly from s***hole nations, he raises my hackles. Donald Trump’s racist ignorance might not raise the hackles of other Americans. Whatever. We all have our own consciences and I wouldn’t dare interject my own values into another American’s heart or mind.

I simply will express my utter outrage that the leader of the world’s greatest nation has chosen to play favorites with those who want to craft a better life for themselves and their descendants.

My grandparents would be appalled.

***

Here is part of the inscription inside the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The president has dishonored those time-honored words.

President seeks to strike at heart of key U.S. policy

Donald John Trump promised to “put America first.” He also pledged to change U.S. immigration policy, to make it more selective.

I want to share with you a poem that appears on the pedestal at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.

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-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It’s the “New Colossus,” written by Emma Lazarus. It has served as a guidepost for those seeking entrance into the Land of Opportunity.

Donald Trump wants to water it down. He is proposing a policy that limits entrance only to those with skills that can be put to good use.

You know already that I am the grandson of immigrants. They came here near the turn of the 20th century. They hailed from southeastern Europe. They weren’t particularly “skilled,” nor did they possess a lot of formal education. But they came here to forge a new life. They succeeded magnificently.

Slam the door shut?

The president wants to give preference to those who can speak English. Hmmm. Only one of my grandparents had any English skills upon arrival. The rest of them, I guess, were likely to be denied.

I don’t want this proposal to become law. It is an affront to what we have stood for — as a nation of immigrants.

Putting “America first” means, in my mind, honoring all of those who choose to come here in search of a better life. If they find it in the United States of America, then they have enriched not only themselves and their families, but also the nation they call “home.”

U.S. gives up title of ‘Beacon of Hope’

Let’s ponder this for a moment.

This United States of America used to be seen around the world as the place where everyone wanted to go. To visit. Or … to live.

It didn’t matter from where you came. You saw the U.S. of A. as the international beacon of hope. We have that statue in New York harbor that welcomes the poor and dispossessed.

That’s all changed, according to the current president of the United States. Donald J. Trump says if you come from certain countries and perhaps adhere to a certain religion, you are no longer welcome. The welcome mat has been rolled up, the door has been slammed shut and we won’t answer the bell when you ring it.

How in the world does this happen?

International terrorists? They’re to blame? No. We’ve had them in our midst for decades, if not centuries. Terrorists reside here at home, too. The president and his team say they want to protect us from those who would do us harm.

Really? What about the crazed corn-fed American-born morons who open fire in movie theaters, or at night clubs, or — for God’s sake! — in elementary schools! Or, say, the anti-government sociopath who blew up that federal courthouse in Oklahoma City.

The Trump administration has pushed the panic button. It has elevated the fear factor to new levels by excluding refugees from several Muslim-majority nations. But the president insists he isn’t invoking an anti-Muslim policy.

Well, Mr. President, it doesn’t look that way to me.

What’s next? Will he now send crews into the NYC harbor to remove that inscription on the statue?

‘Select immigrants based on skill … ‘

Statue_Liberty_Immigrants_drawing_1887_dbloc_adj

Buried deeply in Donald J. Trump’s fiery immigration speech last night was a series of provisions he set forth that hasn’t yet gotten much media attention.

Perhaps it will. It certainly should, in my humble view.

Here’s what the Republican presidential nominee said that caught my attention:

“The time has come for a new immigration commission to develop a new set of reforms to our legal immigration system in order to achieve the following goals:

“To keep immigration levels, measured by population share, within historical norms

“To select immigrants based on their likelihood of success in U.S. society, and their ability to be financially self-sufficient. We need a system that serves our needs – remember, it’s America First.

“To choose immigrants based on merit, skill and proficiency.

“And to establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.”

Do you know what he said right there? You perhaps have your own interpretation. Mine is that my own grandparents, all four of them, quite likely could have been denied entry into this country had those principles been put in play at the turn of the 20th century.

Trump wants to screen all immigrants to ensure they meet certain skill levels, that they demonstrate certain proficiency and that they meet some kind of standard of merit.

I’m going to speak only about my own family, but my grandparents — as great and as loving as they were — were uneducated individuals. They came here from southern Greece and from Turkey. With the possible exception of my maternal grandfather, a merchant seaman who was fluent or conversant in about a half-dozen languages, none of them brought any “skill” to this country.

All they brought to the United States of America was a desire to live in the land of the free.

They also became the greatest American patriots I’ve ever known.

They were the living embodiment of the inscription carved into the Statue of Liberty. You’ve heard of Emma Lazarus’s poem that proclaims in part:

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-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Donald Trump, with that remarkably arrogant proclamation that sets certain standards that go far beyond potential criminality or the threat of terrorists has just crapped all over that inscription.

Trump disgraces the campaign yet again

refugees

Donald Trump is a disgraceful demagogue.

The Syrians who are fleeing the bloodshed in their country — made worse by the introduction of Russian air strikes against anti-government rebels — are seeking asylum in other countries.

The United States is one country that has agreed to accept them.

Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate, said he’ll “send them back” if he’s elected president in 2016.

To where? To the hell hole they’ve just left? To more misery and death? To more persecution? To tyranny?

Refugees flee bloodshed

Trump is a native of New York. Surely he knows about the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, the one that welcomes the poor and the dispossessed.

That the United States would welcome these individuals from the terror they are fleeing is in keeping with the highest ideals of this country.

Trump’s disgraceful demagoguery appeals to the very worst in human beings.

He should be ashamed of himself … except that he’s shown time and again he is without shame.

 

Let’s wall off entire U.S. … not!

First bricks of new house. Brick wall foundation isolated 3l illustration

The wall that Donald Trump keeps yapping about might get a bit longer.

The Republican presidential primary front runner wants to build a “beautiful” wall along our southern border. He says he can do it because he’s “good at building things.” It’ll run 1,900 or so miles.

Now comes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of the thundering herd of challengers seeking to catch Trump. He wants to out-Trump The Donald. How? He says he’s “open to the idea” of building a wall across our northern border, the one that separates the United States from Canada. It’s been the longest unsecured border in the world since, oh I guess maybe forever.

He said this on “Meet the Press”: “Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago … I think we need to secure borders in general.”

Here’s more from Walker

While we’re at it, let’s build underwater obstructions along the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts. You know, the kind of things the Nazis erected along Normandy as they sought to fight off the D-Day invaders in June 1944?

We’d need to keep shipping lanes open, of course. But if we’re going to “secure our borders in general,” as Walker suggested, then by golly, let’s go all in.

The last thing we ought to do is sand blast that inscription from the base of the Statue of Liberty, which says to other nations they are welcome to “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … ”