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 might 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!”
Those are the words of Emma Lazarus in her most famous poem, “The New Colossus,” the last stanza of which sits inscribed at the base of our Statue of Liberty. New York City may no longer be our gateway of immigration, but Lady Liberty stands there in the harbor, her torch held high, a beacon to those fleeing from oppression and looking for a better life and a testament to the values of our country. Donald Trump’s seven-nation ban on immigration stands diametrically opposed to those values.
Do not be fooled by attempts to normalize this act. This is not normal. Notice how they call attention to how few refugees we let in immediately after 9/11 without once mentioning that 9/11 happened? Notice how they claim that Obama’s refugee limit was only 70,000 without at all mentioning that it is a joint effort between the Republican Congress and the President to set the limit.? Notice how they lie about “improving security screening” when refugee security screening is already robust and effective? Notice how they claim to “know” that terrorists have successfully infiltrated the refugee population in Europe and committed terrorist acts without even one attribution to an attack? There are millions of refugees in Europe right now. I have no doubt that bad actors are trying to infiltrate their ranks, but they’re also trying to do just about everything else. There has been no evidence that immigrants pose any more of a risk than those with citizenship; in fact, it’s been the opposite. Anything contrary to that is pure propaganda.
There is also an attempt to propagate the lie that this is not a Muslim ban. They want us to ignore the fact that Trump called for a Muslim ban while campaigning and that Rudy Giuliani has said that Trump has asked him how to implement a Muslim ban legally. They want us to ignore the fact that all seven nations covered in the ban are predominantly Muslim. They point to the other Muslim countries that aren’t on the ban while not pointing out that Trump has business interests there. This ban echoes the horrors of 9/11 while not including Saudi Arabia, the place where most of the 9/11 terrorists came from. In fact, out of the countries whose citizens have successfully executed a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the last two decades, exactly zero of them are included in the ban and Trump has business interests in all of them.
They will claim that previous presidents have had similar bans. They will point to Jimmy Carter’s ban of Iranians during the hostage crisis or Obama’s ban of those directly or indirectly aiding certain Muslim countries. There is very clear context to those bans. They are not universal like Trump’s ban, which includes everyone in those seven countries. The only real-life examples I can think of are many of our greatest shames. Things like the internment of those of Japanese origin during World War II or our turning away of Jews fleeing the Holocaust. The former was actually used as a defense of Trump’s Muslim ban during the election. As to the latter, well, Trump announced his ban on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Pay very close attention to which of your representatives and senators are supporting this ban or are staying silent. In an issue like this, silence is compliance. Anyone who does not speak up as of today needs to go. If they speak up tomorrow, it is too late. This is not an issue where you can weigh the mood of the nation before deciding. Many of those senators will be up for reelection in 2018. All of those representatives will be up for reelection in 2018. Remember their justifications. Remember their compliance. They must go.
The good news is there has been an upswelling of resistance here in the U.S. and around the world. A Federal judge has reversed parts of Trump’s decree. Green Card holders can now enter once again. Trump’s staff is in damage control mode as they deny green card holders were ever supposed to be banned despite clear orders coming from the Department of Homeland Security that they should be revoked access and turned away. Protests at international airports are continuing into a second day. Across the country, we’re showing the world that Trump’s action will not be tolerated and that he does not speak for us. Refugees, you are welcome here. This is who we are.