Letter: Trump stains America’s refugee legacy

From: Jesse Langdon


America is a land made up of immigrants and refugees wanting to better themselves through new-found opportunities and freedoms. This notion was true in the founding years of our nation and still resonates today.

Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “The New Colossus,” was set into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903 and greeted those newcomers to America at Ellis Island. The Trump administration seems to have forgotten the call of Lady Liberty for the world to “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.”

Instead of welcoming in and helping refugees, Trump has decided to drastically reduce the number of refugees allowed into the country. Trump’s stated intake number of refugees the U.S. will welcome in 2018 was 45,000, yet America is on track to take in only 22,000. It should be noted that Trump’s goal is the lowest on record in America. This shift in America’s refugee acceptance is a stark contrast from the years that Lady Liberty greeted European refugees with outstretched arms at Ellis Island.

The world is currently experiencing its greatest refugee crisis in history with around 65 million refugees worldwide, according to the United Nations. The Trump Administration’s extremely low refugee quota and Trump’s Muslim travel ban, recently upheld by the Supreme Court, has cast a dark shadow over America. Refugees International, a non-government organization focused on advocating for vital assistance and protection of displaced persons, graded the Trump Administration’s performance on refugee and humanitarian protection as an “F.” Our standing in the world as a respectable nation has been slowly slipping away since the inauguration of President Trump, and this rating is a major blow to America’s image. America was once a shining city upon a hill. Now that the light of Lady Liberty’s torch has dimmed, our “shining city” has become dull and tarnished.