The New Colossus

The New Colossus

By: Robert Scott

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser

One of the so-called Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was the 100-foot high statue of the Greek sun god Helios, erected to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus in the Fourth Century BC. This “Colossus of Rhodes” only stood for 54 years before it was destroyed by an earthquake; it was never rebuilt. Its size was about the same as the Statue of Liberty, and was the referent in a poem entitled “The New Colossus,” written by Emma Lazarus.

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!”


That sonnet is inscribed in a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands, on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. Millions of new Americans, seeking asylum or just a new beginning and an escape from poverty, passed by that statue and served both as the inspiration and the result of the national pride and unique tradition we have in the United States as the “Land of Immigrants.” We have never rejected immigrants for being poor, or for needing help once they arrived; we have never required those seeking to become Americans to be able to “stand on their own two feet or don’t bother to come.” But that is what the Trump administration is now requiring of current immigrants, even legal immigrants seeking work permits once here. That is wrong, it is in the most fundamental sense un-American, and it is not the way to “Make America Great Again.”

Many of my own forebears arrived on this continent among those best described as “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Whether they did so before or after the Statue of Liberty was constructed, I am certain that is true of most of us nationwide as well as here in Edgefield County. That is who we are. Let us all work — and vote – to keep this national tradition, and to continue to build our nation on the wonderful ideals of “The New Colossus.”

One Response to "The New Colossus"

  1. Jerry Pugh   August 22, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    This refutes your claim about limitations:

    Congress also banned persons because of poor health or lack of education. An 1882 law banned entry of “lunatics” and infectious disease carriers. After President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist of immigrant parentage, Congress enacted the Anarchist Exclusion Act in 1901 to exclude known anarchist agitators.[3] A literacy requirement was added in the Immigration Act of 1917.

    In 1921 the United States Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which established national immigration quotas. The quotas were based on the number of foreign-born residents of each nationality who were living in the United States as of the 1910 census.

    The crucial 1923 Supreme Court case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind created the official stance to classify South Asian Indians as non-white, which at the time allowed Indians who had already been naturalized to be retroactively stripped of their citizenship after prosecutors argued that they had gained their citizenship illegally.[4] The California Alien Land Law of 1913, overturned in 1952 by the holding in Sei Fujii v. California, 38 Cal. 2d 718, and other similar laws prohibited aliens from owning land property, thus effectively stripping Indian Americans of land rights. While the decision was placating Asiatic Exclusion League (AEL) demands, spurned by growing outrage at the Turban Tide/Hindoo Invasion [sic] alongside the pre-existing outrage at the “Yellow Peril”, and while more recent legislation influenced by the civil-rights movement has removed much of the statutory discrimination against Asians, no case has overturned this 1923 classification.

    A more complex quota plan, the National Origins Formula, replaced this “emergency” system under the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act). The reference census used was changed to that of 1890, which greatly reduced the number of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. An annual ceiling of 154,227 was set for the Eastern Hemisphere. Each country had a quota proportional to its population in the U.S. as of the 1890 census.

    In 1932 President Hoover and the State Department essentially shut down immigration during the Great Depression as immigration went from 236,000 in 1929 to 23,000 in 1933. This was accompanied by voluntary repatriation to Europe and Mexico, and coerced repatriation and deportation of between 500,000 and 2 million Mexican Americans, mostly citizens, in the Mexican Repatriation. Total immigration in the decade of 1931 to 1940 was 528,000 averaging less than 53,000 a year.
    MAGA and KAG