"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!"
- “The New Colossus” by Emily Lazarus,
written for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty
These words are as relevant today as they were when they were first written. America was built by those who came to our borders seeking a better life. Those same opportunities that were provided in the past should extend to current and future generations.
Legal immigration needs to be made simpler and easier to accommodate law-abiding potential citizens who want to come to the United States. Guest worker programs need to be available for those who want to come to America temporarily and return home when their seasonal work is over.
Those undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should be given an opportunity to have some kind of legal status that will bring them out of the shadows and allow them to contribute openly to American society.
Legitimate asylum seekers need to know that they are welcome in the United States.
Border enforcement should focus on finding legal paths to immigration rather than simply turning people away. Physical barriers that currently exist on the Southern border are sufficient to discourage illegal activity. New walls encourage xenophobic rhetoric, and it is reprehensible to use immigrants as the scapegoat for America’s problems.
The United States is a nation of immigrants. We need to honor that heritage by creating an immigration system that rejects our worst instincts and reflects the best of who we are.