Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…Your Pirates?

January 12th, 2011

By Tom Carter

The last part of Emma Lazarus’ famous poem to the Statue of Liberty rhapsodizes:

“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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The poem, mounted on a plaque inside Lady Liberty’s pedestal, expressed the unbounded confidence and optimism of a new nation — a nation of immigrants by definition.  Lazarus wrote the poem in 1883, and for many years afterwards America welcomed waves of immigrants.  They came seeking freedom, opportunity, and better lives for themselves and their families.  Life for most was difficult, often into the second and even third generations, but they worked hard and assimilated into American society, forming an integral part of the unique nation created by all the immigrants who preceded them.

Those days are over, for the most part.  In the past half-century America has evolved into an entitlement society, where citizens and aliens alike expect and receive part of the wealth earned by others.  We define poverty so generously that Americans who are considered to be “poor” are actually far better off than the majority of people in the rest of the world.  Then some of us decry the level of poverty in America, as we’ve defined it, and demand that even more wealth be distributed from those who produce to those who mostly don’t.

Some immigrants who come to the U.S. — and most who come illegally — don’t come with the intention of assimilating and becoming productive members of society.  They come for jobs and benefits, send most of the money they make to their home countries, and often go back home when jobs aren’t available.  Many of those who come illegally across the U.S. border with Mexico do so at great risk, and once in the U.S. they are often abused by employers and criminals.  And some come for the explicit purpose of giving birth to a child, who under our ill-conceived law becomes an automatic citizen, an “anchor baby” that can be used to justify the presence of other members of its family who otherwise wouldn’t be able to immigrate legally.

The fault for this untenable situation lies with the U.S. government.  It fails to perform one of the most basic functions of sovereignty — control and protection of its borders.  That’s in large measure because politicians, mostly of the left but some of the right, value the votes of citizens who favor illegal immigration more than they value the welfare of all citizens of the nation.

Once in a while a specific case that highlights overall reality grabs our attention.  Just such a case is the CNN report in the video below.  The reporter interviews a Somali pirate who has made enough money to do something other than violently seize ships, kidnap their crews, and hold the crews and vessels hostage until large ransoms are paid.  From the interview:

“I used the money to send my sister to Britain and my brothers to the U.S.  I’m waiting for a visa to Mexico, then cross the border” into the country he believes will offer him the best life — the United States.

Is this what Emma Lazarus had in mind when she wrote “The New Colossus?”  Is this in the best interest of the United States and its citizens?  I don’t think so.

We can no longer tolerate uncontrolled borders and ineffective enforcement of immigration laws.  We must hold our feckless politicians to account on this issue.


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2 Responses to “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…Your Pirates?”



  1. Dan Miller |

    Great Zeus and Thor Almighty, Tom, you are going to be hauled up before a PC inquisition panel and severely punished. May Athena and Hercules have mercy on your soul sole! It may not even be necessary for you to consider changing your registration from Democrat to Independent. In any event, ObamaCare may be your only salvation.

    Oh — might your hateful words have been spawned by the violent and unseemly rhetoric of Mrs. Palin? I can think of no other excuse.


  2. Tom Carter |

    Despite the risk of incurring the wrath of a pantheon of PC gods, I find this problem, like that caused by the lingering dead fish, intolerable. It wouldn’t cost much money to fix, relatively speaking, and it could be done fairly quickly. Secure the damn border, enforce existing law, and provide for a reasonable path to citizenship for most illegal aliens who are already here for a considerable period of time. Five years, no criminals. Once that’s done, do some work on the categories and classes of acceptable legal immigrants. All it will take is a bit of political will and honest effort on the part of politicians. That means, of course, that it’s impossible.

    As to the purported near supernatural influence of the words of a our northernmost airhead politician, who doesn’t even know what “blood libel” means — well, I confess. It’s all her fault.


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