It has long been the policy of this nation to open its doors to those in the world who have needed it most. This has been one of our highest principles, one of our greatest strengths, one of our noblest qualities.
I exist because of this policy. When fascists took over Spain in the 1930’s, and my grandfather was jailed and to be killed for having a voice of opposition, he escaped and made his way to the United States, where he was welcomed. My father, a baby at the time, followed soon after in his mother’s arms.
It has not been our pride or strength or security to deny entry; it has only been our shame. Many Jews who came to America fleeing the Nazi Holocaust were turned away, and many died later because of it.
Now Trump and his Republican allies, in the name of fear and hate, turn away Syrians whose only crime was to be Muslim in a country where other Muslims tried to kill them. They turn away Muslims from all over in the name of security, when every fact screams that what they are doing will do no good. Far from making us secure, this will only embolden our enemies, weaken our principles, and anger many who will later be turned against us. Like the Iraq War started by Republicans, this ban will stop no terrorists, but it will create a great many.
So now we are shamed. Shamed even by Canada, not by their condemnation, but by their compassion, when their leader says that they will take all of those that we turn away.
And for what? So we can pretend to be safe? So we can cower in fear behind closed doors?
We’re supposed to believe that this is going to make America “great” again?
We were great.
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 mighty 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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”