All of the people who came from other lands were immigrants or slaves, but I do not discriminate for they are all Americans, whether they came freely or in chains, and they are my children now. I weep because some of them have forgotten their way. They do not remember having come here because it was their ancestors who came, but I remember for them all: Even the ones who came before I stood above the harbor with my torch. My America, my land of freedom, and its people of the manor and the meadow born, is flowing with the blood and sweat of all the countries in the world. There is tremendous strength in a lineage such as this, the many different streams coming together and forming one magnificent river.
But now I am weeping once again, and my tears flow because a new wave of immigrants is trying to land on our shores. Some of my children have forgotten their birthright was not kept from them, not yanked from their hands, but now they want to do this to people who only want to join the family, to be like all those who came before them were, moving into the country not to overwhelm it but to become part of it. The sweat of their brows will fall into our earth, their blood will mix with ours as all the others did before, and America will be stronger with this new infusion of spirit, as it has always become stronger with an influx of any of my children.
I call on all those who wish to stop the flow of these people who seek our freedom and way of life to remember the words I have silently spoken all these years: “Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me.” Stop my flowing tears, assuage my worries that my America will not become theirs too, for it cannot be that we will become like those “ancient lands” with their unforgiving ways. If we turn people away who need to come here, we send them back to a land of no hope and a valley of despair.
I do not want to collapse like my ancestor at Rhodes, though he was destined to fall as all those empires of long ago fell. They failed because they were not for the people but for the few, the power corrupting and ultimately strangling regime after regime. But here and now we must represent a shining example to the world, being the best the way we know we can be. We must welcome these new people, all the ones who long to breathe free air and look with hopeful eyes at the American flag that flutters from a symbolic pole on an island of opportunity in their hearts and minds.