There have been plenty of opinions strewn around over the past months regarding the Syrian Refugee Crisis, exacerbated by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the heightened state of alert that has followed. Some of the vocal parties in America include many of the candidates running for president, splitting the situation down political lines. Ben Carson has likened refugees to rabid dogs, Jeb Bush wants to ensure that the ones we take into America are Christians, and most of them want to join several governors around the nation in halting the acceptance of refugees into the country.
Others have taken the opposing stance and have tried to illuminate the dire circumstances for refugees. John Oliver provided a nice overview into the process of accepting the refugees over the weekend and provided some strong examples through American history, but another famous name took a much simpler route. Game Of Thrones author George R.R. Martin wrote a post on his personal blog addressing the crisis, taking a cue from Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus.” The poem appears at the base of the Statue of Liberty and Martin wanted to highlight some of the bits we tend to forget.
For me, Lady Liberty and the words on her base represent the best of what this nation of immigrants is all about. One has to wonder if all the governors (including our own governor here in New Mexico, I am ashamed to say) and congressmen voting to keep out the Syrian refugees have ever visited the Statue, or read the words on her base. If so, they surely failed to understand them.
Of course, most everyone knows the part about ‘your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,’ but let me draw your attention to some other lines of the poem:
— a mighty woman with a torch… her name Mother of Exiles,
— from her beacon hand, Glows world-wide welcome,
— send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me.
Emma Lazarus had it right. Donald Trump and thirty-one governors have it wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s short and sweet, to the point, and gives one of the clearest arguments for supporting the refugees. Technically it is lady liberty giving the argument (or Lazarus), and Martin is just giving it some press. That isn’t to say there is no danger involved with bringing anybody into your nation, but there’s plenty of risk for everybody involved. It’s worthy of a debate.