Poetry does not an immigration policy make

During the immigration debates prompted by the coming election, the likes of Eleanor Clift and other liberal spokespersons often cite the poetry on the Statue of Liberty as confirmation that our nation is steeped in some type of open-door immigration policy.  A little research proves that not to be the case.

The Statue of Liberty poem, as it is known, was written by Emma Lazarus and is named "The New Colossus."

"In 1903, a bronze tablet that bears the text of 'The New Colossus' and commemorates Emma Lazarus was presented by friends of the poet" and was donated for auction at the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund.

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!

Beautiful poem, but not an immigration policy, nor is it representative of some open-door policy of the early 1900s.  In fact, the opposite condition was more in play than a wholesale welcoming of "huddled masses."

Here are some excerpts of immigration law, first from 1903, then a more stringent addendum in 1918.

From the law of 1903 Sect 39:

That any person who knowingly aids, advises, or encourages any such person to apply for or to secure naturalization or to file the preliminary papers declaring an intent to become a citizen of the United States, or who in any naturalization proceeding knowingly procures or gives false testimony as to any material fact, or who knowingly makes an affidavit false as to any material fact required to be proved in such proceeding, shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not less than one nor more than ten years, or both.

Anyone that entertains or teaches disbelief in or opposition to all organized government, …shall be excluded from admission to the United States.

From the law of 1918, Section 2:

That any alien who, at any time after entering the United States, is found to have been at the time of entry, or to have become thereafter ... a member of any one of the classes of aliens enumerated in section one of this Act, shall, upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor, be taken into custody and deported.

And from Section 3:

That any alien who shall, after he has been excluded and deported or arrested and deported in pursuance of the provisions of this Act, thereafter return to or enter the United States or attempt to return to or to enter the United States shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of not more than five years ; and shall, upon the termination of such imprisonment, be taken into custody, upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor, and deported.  

(That last selection is essentially the "Kate's Law" proposition of Bill O'Reilly.)

Later, in the 1920s, even more stringent immigration law was passed dealing with quotas from certain countries and continents.  "The Immigration Act of 1924 limited the number of immigrants allowed entry into the United States through a national origins quota. The quota provided immigration visas to two percent of the total number of people of each nationality in the United States as of the 1890 national census. It completely excluded immigrants from Asia."

Even more of note, the attorneys general of those administrations bound themselves to the law and enforced the statutes.  (Take note, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, and also Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson.)

So the "give us your huddled masses" was contingent on many things and is not quite what the liberals wish it to mean.  From the 1903 posting of the poem forward, the laws became stricter and more restrictive.  In short, the poem was not indicative of the immigration policy of the United States of America.

Here is a poem that might better suit the United States immigration policy.

Welcome those who have stood in line
Please sign the book and take the oath
We expect you to assimilate into the country you chose to join
Those who have snuck in are encouraged to self-deport

Does that rhyme?

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