(THE DAILY BEAST)
By Gene Robinson
Maybe we should just send the Statue of Liberty back where it came from.
Advertisement - story continues below
That long-and-much-beloved iconic statue, standing in New York Harbor, greeting immigrants by the tens of thousands, is inscribed with Emma Lazarus’ poem: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Our beloved Lady Liberty has been a beacon of hope for millions of people seeking a better life.
The first human being to come through Ellis Island was an unaccompanied minor. Her name was Annie Moore, and a statue of her (and her two younger brothers) now stands on that tiny piece of hope in New York Harbor, along with one of her in Ireland, from whence she came. Thousands of unaccompanied minors followed her through Ellis Island.
But these days, with unprecedented numbers of children reaching our border with Mexico, many in Congress would have you believe that we are dealing with barbarians at the gate, rather than children seeking refuge from violence in their home countries. Congress is refusing President Obama’s request for emergency funds to deal with this crisis and seeking to overturn a human trafficking law (which grants a hearing to apprehended immigrants in order to determine whether or not they qualify for asylum), in order to deport these children more speedily. These are not immigrants simply looking for a cushier life, but rather refugees seeking relief from a dangerous and deadly, domestic “war” in their own countries.