This week, the Trump administration placed further restrictions on legal immigration into the United States, enacting a new rule that would determine green card recipients based on a wealth test. Those who do not pass this aggressive assessment will be denied permanent legal status.
This week, a senior immigration official in the Trump administration suggested that the words on the Statue of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land” – should be revised, making clear that the administration wants to fundamentally rewrite our values.
But the engraving on the Statue of Liberty does not specify from where a person should come, or how much money they should have, just that they will be welcomed in the new world.
Immigrants who choose to come to the United States do so because we are the land of opportunity. Revolutionaries in oppressive regimes sing our national anthem because of what it represents: a free nation where all are created equal.
Though Trump and his nativist cronies are trying to redefine our ideals through their xenophobic statements and bigotted policies, Americans do not separate themselves from each other, we unite. We stand against the hatred, we demand change. Our fundamental principles will not be erased or redefined by the racist whims of this administration.
Words matter. They have immense power to bring a person to the extremes. But they also can bring people together. Together we are more powerful than the voices of fear and hate. That is why they seek to divide us, and that is why we must work harder to come together. Our commitment to liberty, equality, and truth is what powers us to thrive. It’s why the downtrodden across the world have looked to our example for inspiration. It is the purpose that drives us ever onward, towards a more perfect union.
We are a proud multicultural, inclusive nation and those principles are what define us. As long as we continue to stand up for our values and against hatred, America will continue to be seen as the strongest democracy in the world, and a place that we all feel proud to call home.