A nation of immigrants

View of Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island in the background.

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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus, 1883

These words are inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, perhaps the most famous and most recognized symbol of democracy and enlightenment in the world. Commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and honoring the friendship of the peoples of the United States and France, the statue was presented to the American minister to France in Paris on July 4, 1884. The completed statue was later disassembled and shipped to New York City and unveiled in New York Harbor on October 28, 1886. Because of its location near Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants were received until 1943, the Statue of Liberty has also come to be a symbol of hope, freedom, opportunity, and justice.

A few Jews add strength and character to a country, but too many create chaos. — Charles Lindbergh

Following the success of the Emergency Quota Law of 1921 at dramatically reducing the flow of immigration into the US, particularly from Eastern Europe, the Immigration Act of 1924 (the Johnson-Reed Act) permanently extended the discriminatory system of “national origins” quotas. The quota system would become even more restrictive under Johnson-Reed and remain the primary means of determining immigrants’ admissibility to the United States until 1965.

A cartoon published in Judge magazine in 1903 is titled “The High Tide of Immigration — A National Menace,” with the caption: “Immigration statistics for the past year show that the influx of foreigners was the greatest in our history, and also that the hard-working peasants are now being supplanted by the criminals and outlaws of all Europe.” | npr.org
Members of the antisemitic Goyim Defense League (GDL) hang a sign from an L.A. overpass, apparently inspired by the rapper’s recent antisemitic comments and social media posts.

Not a war between nations but humanity’s struggle for the right to exist. — Joseph A. Wyant

Reflecting on the consequences of American inaction in a 1946 speech, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I have the feeling that we let our consciences realize too late the need of standing up against something that we knew was wrong. We have therefore had to avenge it, but we did nothing to prevent it. I hope that in the future, we are going to remember that there can be no compromise at any point with the things that we know are wrong.”

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Beau Everett

Imagining a better world, while trying to make sense of the one we’ve got.