The Statue of Liberty, as seen from New York harbor, has long been a beacon of hope to American immigrants and refugees.
By Mugdha Gurram
"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!"
WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – That promise of open arms, engraved on the Statue of Liberty, rings empty in the ears of immigrants and refugees now.On Friday, January 27th, President Trump signed an Executive Order stopping immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim countries entering the United States.
Following through on promises he made during his campaign, Trump implemented the ban with the intention of decreasing acts of terror, the blame for which he placed upon the Muslim community.
It was an action rooted in hatred, fear, and cowardice.
Immigrants and refugees are not statistics. They are not “this percentage” terrorist and “that percentage” job stealers. They are people who are fighting for hope and opportunity, people fleeing injustice and persecution. They are people seeking the open arms promised at America’s gates, the home promised by words engraved on the Statue of Liberty. They are people who have faced threat after threat only to be accused of being one themselves.
As an immigrant, I can say proudly that we understand and embody American values just as well, if not better, than many native-born Americans. Because being an immigrant is not easy. You do not just get to just hop on a plane and fly to America on a whim. It takes time and money and grit and patience. You have to fight be an immigrant. You sign document after document, wait year after year, invest thousands after thousands to arrive and do it all again just to stay here.
Immigration is not a process for the faint of heart. It takes people away from their family, their homeland, from everything they’ve ever known and tosses them into a sea of uncertainty.
But immigrants do it anyways. Why? Because we believe in American values. We believe in the freedom, hope, and opportunity promised by the United States.
No race, faith, or nationality keeps an immigrant from believing in that promise. And for that reason, no race, faith, or nationality should keep an immigrant from their rightful place in America.
I fail to see how any proponent of American values can support this Muslim ban. How can someone who claims to celebrate freedom deny it to those who seek it? How can someone who claims to support equality deny it to those they deem lesser?
My heart breaks on behalf of all those who overcame barrier after barrier just to be stopped at the finish line. Those who have come running into the open arms of a nation should not have to see it turns its back at the last second.
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