Issue 23 • Week of June 19, 2022 / Updated May 4, 2023
Millions of people with ties to America have to wait years until they are allowed to join their families or colleagues here. Many are detained when they attempt to enter. Yet it can be difficult for those of us who have never experienced war, natural disaster, persecution, or an absence of opportunities to imagine what circumstances would lead people to move thousands of miles, sometimes at great risk on foot or by boat, with unknown chances of admission to a foreign land. Put yourself in their shoes for a couple of hours by watching a documentary about why people are forced to emigrate to provide for their children, become refugees in times of conflict, and overcome the challenges to start a new life in the US.
Then remember our ideals immortalized in the Statue of Liberty which arrived in the US on June 17, 1885 as a gift from the people of France. It became a national symbol for immigration thanks to nearby Ellis Island and the famous poem by Emma Lazarus. Our nation has grown stronger by each new generation from abroad, from pioneers seeking religious freedom to asylees escaping fascism or communism to refugees fleeing civil wars or invasions to immigrants pursuing a better life. Unfortunately they were not always welcomed.