Raymond B. Williams’ Aug. 23 opinion piece linking immigration with the Statue of Liberty is disingenuous. The statue’s official name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” not Liberty Inviting the World. It was a gift from France to this country to celebrate the alliance of both nations during the Revolutionary War.
Professor Williams undoubtedly has in mind Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” that many have incorrectly claimed is “engraved on the statue.” The poem was written in 1883 to help raise funds to pay for the construction of the statue’s pedestal. The statue was dedicated in 1886, and Lazarus died a year later. About 15 years later a group of her friends had the poem engraved on a small plaque and placed inside the statue’s base along with other immigration-related memorabilia. It is important to remember that Americans are a sovereign people who have the right to determine who and how many foreign-born should be given the privilege — not the right — to live among us. This is especially true at a time when 40 million Americans at all skill levels have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Williams would do well to familiarize himself with the late civil rights icon, Barbara Jordan, who chaired President Bill Clinton’s immigration reform commission. We fully support her calling for the establishment an immigration policy that puts the interests of the nation before those of the special interests who benefit from the arrival of 1.2 million legal immigrants annually.
Our immigration crisis is a creation of a federal government that has refused to enforce the laws it created to protect Americans and their jobs. Believe it or not, but our citizens also are entitled to search for a better life in their own country.
Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration