Friends and followers: Don’t let anyone get away with this. Using “The New Colossus,” the 1883 poem that appears on the Statue of Liberty as authority in any current debate over national policy is either fatuous, ignorant, dishonest, stupid, or a cynical effort to appeal to the emotions of those who have no grasp of history or logic.
There is are periodic outbreaks of silly Lazerus worship every now and then, and we’re in the middle of another one. Indignant memes showing Lady Liberty and some or all of Emma’s one hit poem are popping up all over social media. Anyone who posts one is either an ignoramus, a liar, or shamelessly trying to suck up to progressive friends who are dishonest and ignorant, hoping that nobody will notice. I notice, and so should you. Call them on it. Appealing to the words of “The New Colussus” is approximately as valid as extolling the words of “Imagine,” “Jabberwocky,” or “Me So Horny.” Anyone who tries it should be mocked and shamed.
The Trump administration issued a final rule yesterday empowering federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future. Good. This is sensible and responsible policy, and while polls are inaccurate and the public doesn’t understand what it says it approves or disapproves of much of the time, it is also policy about 3/4 of the public seems to agree with.
Of course, Democrats are calling it “racist,” since anything that the Trump administration does is racist. The negative stereotype of the immigrant who dashes to the welfare office the second he becomes a citizen has been around for decades…
but Americans don’t find the behavior funny, and should not. Expecting new Americans given the privilege of using our individual liberties to succeed to the extent their abilities, creativity and diligence will take them to be self-sufficient is completely reasonable and responsible. It also is 100% consistent with the expectations when Emma Lazarus wrote her poem. There was no welfare, public housing, food stamps or other public assistance waiting for those tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. There was just the air to breathe free, and the opportunity to succeed or fail.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), responded to the ginned-up hysteria by responding, “President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America.” Unfortunately—because President Trump appoints the best people—Cuccinelli also mangled the poem, I assume intentionally, in his comments, saying “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.” This gave the many anti-Trump hacks in the news media and in academia a useful diversion to deceive the public with. For example, “To see how something so expressive of the country’s greatest ideals, to see how it could be so contorted or distorted, is really, I think dismay is the only word,” said historian Annie Polland, the executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society in New York.
Distorted? The Lazarus poem was written at a time when immigrants received no assistance at all. It was understood that it was opportunity and liberty, and only those, that immigrants were seeking, and they expected nothing more. The US population in 1883 was about 50 million: there was an abundance of land and jobs. Today’s population is about 370 million. The National debt in 1883 was 1,884,171,728. There were no entitlements; those who were not self-sufficient put no burdens on the rest of the public. Today the debt is a dangerous $22.03 trillion. Under the new rules, immigrants will still recieve far more public assistance than any of Emma’s huddled masses. The new policy will not cover enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, enrollment in Medicare Part D, nor the use of Medicaid by children, pregnant women, or new mothers during the 60-day period. Enrollment in the supplemental food program WIC, for low- to moderate-income pregnant women, infants, and children will also not lead to a public charge determination.
With that context, behold the Democratic demagogues! Here’s Cory Booker:
This administration’s cruel new policy called public is another racist policy that targets the less fortunate and is intended to prevent certain immigrants from becoming citizens and voters. It’s wrong and goes against our values. I will reverse it as President.
Good luck with that last promise, Cory. I guess he subscribes to the Biden formula. You know: Joe said “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids” the other day. Cory now is claiming that if the U.S. doesn’t want to accept immigrants who can’t take care of themselves, they must be targeting non-whites.
Boy, figuring out who the racists are these days is tricky!
Beto thinks it’s racist too, so that makes at least three Democratic challengers who equate “poor” with “non-white. For good measure, he uses the Emma Lazarus deceit: “The words on the Statue of Liberty won’t be changed at the racist whims of this administration—and neither will the character of this country. ”
Any immigrant who pledges that he or she will accept no more government assistance than the huddled masses of Emma’s era should be handed a green card and welcomed with a laurel and hardy handshake. President Trump should add this to the policy; call it the Emma Lazarus rule.
Then we have former HUD Secretary Julián Castro who suggested that the Trump administration is “effectively” “taking the words off that plaque” on the Statue of Liberty. The Horror. The poem isn’t policy, it isn’t law, its a relic of completely different conditions in America, and it has no more valid influence over immigration than “There once was a man from Pawtucket…” I don’t care what poems written in 1883 say, and neither should any responsible elected official.
“What it looks like is that this administration is not just against undocumented immigrants, it’s also against legal immigrants. And on top of that, it seems to only want immigrants that look a certain way,” Castro mau-maued on MSNBC. I believe what they’re looking for are it seems like well-to-do immigrants from some European countries.”
Because all immigrants of color are poor, right?
Then Castro undercut his own argument by praising previous generations of immigrants who “started off with nothing, but they were able to become successful small business owners or good employees and pass on wealth to their children and their grandchildren.” Nothing in the new policy opposes those kinds of immigrants, no matter what color they are.
Pointer and Facts: Tyler O’Neil