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!"
Sometimes a delay works out for the best (at least for this blog). This was supposed to go up last week, but now it has a particularly new relevance.
Though our current crisis at the border has been averted for now, one thing has become clear in this administration's language and policies: the golden door is closed. Immigrants need not apply. (Unless your rich. Different rules always apply to the rich.)
The push to end many family visas by narrowly construing the limits of a family. The refusal to accept refugees, stating a policy number half the historic average, but actively driving that number far lower. Ending asylum for domestic violence and gang violence, and effectively ending asylum based on a "credible fear of persecution." Stopping migrants from reaching our border, lying to them and telling them that the 'port of entry is at capacity and we cannot process any more asylum claims'. This latter point creates a particularly nasty 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' scenario, as we have a zero-tolerance policy jailing anyone who would enter illegally and try to claim asylum, but we are stopping them before they get here and telling them to come back later for those who want to enter legally and claim it. As a result, there are applicants camping out for days on end just outside our borders.
And now our highest court has affirmed the imposition of a travel ban to the United States from certain countries. The Supreme Court in Trump, President of the United States, et al. v. Hawaii et al., 585 U.S. _____ (2018), reversed the appellate court that stayed the ban, remanding the case for further decision in the lower courts. The opinion is a very sausage-making heavy opinion regarding the statutory construction surrounding the authorization of the President to limit immigration into the country. In doing so, the court recognizes the very, very broad powers the President has in invoking such a limitation, bypassing any potential Establishment Clause issue by focusing solely on the printed text of the proclamation and not the ample evidence of motive and interpretation by the administration surrounding it.
It sends a clear message. Immigration to America, even legal immigration is done.
Ironic for a nation that is 99.1% immigrant.
Think about that. Only 0.9% of Americans can trace their roots back to indigenous people. Everyone else here immigrated at some point. And for nearly 100 years, we did not have immigration laws as we would think of them. If you could get here, and stay here, you could become a citizen (with the unfortunate time period appropriate caveats). Beyond that, it took us 150 years to put caps on the total number of immigrants a year.
We have to fix our immigration policies and we have to do so soon. It's fundamental to who we are, or at least who we were. If we want to make America great again, why don't we remember that part.
"Bartholdi's gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international repblicanism, but 'The New Colossus' reinvented the statue's purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world."
I feel the Lady now weeps.
"I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind to whatever nation they might belong."
"Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists."
Franklin D. Roosevelt