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!
This is America.
We invite and welcome refugees who are fleeing from impoverished circumstances or from oppressive governments or from cruel persecution.
We want the tired and poor and wretched and homeless to come to America where they can rest and breathe and work and live and worship and add their skills and imagination and industry to further themselves and their families and to build up this country and make it truly great. We want all of those who with good intentions and noble dreams want to come and work with us to further the American experiment—a government and a country that is led and built by the people, for the people, and of the people.
Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that America doesn’t want this kind of person or that kind of immigrant. Don’t listen to the worst voices who call you inferior or unwanted because you come from an impoverished background or from a disrespected group of people or from a place of war and chaos. You are wanted. You are needed. America is great only because Americans have welcomed those who came to help realize her vision of a free people, united in the quest to create liberty and opportunity for all.
America has not always lived up to her ideals. Sometimes, instead of being a shining city on a hill, we have been a purveyor of slavery and racism within our own borders and an exporter of American imperialism without. However, those tragic mistakes—the enslavement of black people and Asians, the annihilation of native American peoples, the imposition of foreign rule in other countries—are and have been just that, tragedies and a betrayal of the true meaning of the United States of America. We are better than our historic crimes and abuses, and we are and will be better than the current clamorous agents of dissension, discord, and disharmony.
I believe that those who are now using stupid and derogatory language to discourage and ridicule and disparage the homeless and the tempest-tost and yes, people of color, will eventually be out-shouted and out-numbered by the millions of Americans who join with Lady Liberty to say, “Send these! I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I pray that those true, good, and grateful American voices will be heard clearly and soon.