image of the inscription on the Statue of Liberty featuring the sonnet 'The New Colossus' quoted below, as well as text with a dedication to its author, Emma Lazarus

The New Colossus

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!"

[This inscription is on display in the Statue of Liberty Museum, located inside the iconic statue's base.]

* * *

[Content Note: Racism; xenophobia; abuse. Video may begin playing automatically at link.]

CNN: "Not in my backyard: Communities protest surge of immigrant kids."
In places such as Murrieta, California, and Oracle, Arizona, the message is clear: Thousands of immigrant children fleeing Central America are unwelcome in Small Town U.S.A.

The children, many of them arriving unaccompanied from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, have traveled up to 3,000 miles across deserts and rivers, clinging to the tops of trains.

They sometimes face rape and beatings at the hands of "coyotes," smugglers who are paid thousands of dollars to sneak them across the southern border with Mexico.

Earlier this month in Murrieta, busloads of babies in their mothers' laps, teens, 'tweens and toddlers were turned back from a detainee facility.

They were met by screaming protesters waving and wearing American flags and bearing signs that read such things as "Return to Sender."
* * *

We often hear the turn of phrase, "We are a nation of immigrants," which is not really true. We are a nation of indigenous people, colonialists, slaves, and immigrants. "We are a nation of immigrants" is a whitewashed version of that history, and now even that phrase has become anathema to the people who declare themselves the "Real Americans."

The "Real American" is defined in contradistinction to the undocumented immigrant (among others), even a desperate child.

The "Real Americans" bray endlessly about the United States of America being the greatest country in the world, and then pretend that isn't an invitation. They behave like a spoiled child with a (stolen) toy they hold out to playmates, not to share, but to brag it's theirs and you can't have it.

But it's all a ruse. It isn't pride that makes them stand and shout at a bus full of children "from the local YMCA, which they had mistaken as the immigrant children." It's insecurity. It's an increasingly perilous grip on the "American Dream" they were promised in exchange for "hard work," and their fears, fomented by an opportunistic party of scoundrels, that there isn't enough to go around.

Help has been replaced with defense. In every way. We steal from the social safety net to give to defense on the federal level. We see the erosion of social services and rise of militarism within communities. We call police, instead of offering assistance. And we tell your huddled masses yearning to breathe free to GTFO.

No help here. Not anymore.

We are a nation of closed doors.

But we don't have to be. We don't have to be conservative. We can be abundant. Abundantly compassionate, innovative, generous. We can welcome and live with abundance.

We have the resources. We merely need the will.

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