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Editorial: Immigrants should love U.S. or leave it
8/17/2012 10:00:00 PM
"Not like the brazen Giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lighting, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
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, the tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
This sonnet, "The New Colossus," was written by American Jewish woman Emma Lazarus and is engraved on a plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the patroness of immigrants that stands high in New York Harbor. France gave America this gift as a universal symbol of democracy and freedom, for which our country stands.
Who has not visited New York Harbor and shed a tear at this awesome sight representing the ultimate American promise to all who want to live in peace.
From the beginning, America has reached out its arms to those who flee oppression in search of opportunity and inalienable rights.
Certainly, we have had to close the "golden door" and impose quotas on immigrants if for no reason other than sheer numbers - we simply cannot be a refuge for everyone in the world who wants to come here.
Yet Americans pride themselves in the rich culture we enshrine because of the diverse ancestral ethnicities that are a part of all of us. We don't want to lose this from our rich tapestry nor do we ask those who come to this country to forsake their heritage.
But it seems reasonable to ask those who immigrate to America to respect our values, our culture as it has emerged, our principles and what we hold most dear - our freedoms.
All the debate lately about the problem of illegal immigration doesn't emphasize what we expect of people who come to this country.
We are Americans who have worked hard to build this country into what it is today. We cherish our country, the American flag, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We speak the English language so that we can all understand each other.
We want people who come here to become U.S. citizens and be willing to assimilate into our way of life - without sacrificing the heritage they have left behind.
Cultures can blend and enrich each other. That is America.
We want immigrants to become Americans because they want to be Americans.
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