He employs history (!) to argue that the Statue of Liberty was not meant to be a welcome mat for immigrants, but was instead designed as a symbol of the nobility of representative government, as indicated by the sculptor's title "Liberty Enlightening the World."
The Statue of Liberty's crown is open again for the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks. That's symbolic. It was reopened on the Fourth of July, very symbolic. The decision was announced in May on the "Today" show — hugely symbolic — by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "The economic times we're going through really call for hope and optimism," he said, and "nothing symbolizes" those things like the Statue of Liberty.
Icons are handy that way. They're instantly recognizable. But the meaning of this one has gotten muddled over the years. So, to mark this occasion, I'd like to suggest a little surgery that will make the symbol more appropriate today: Let's get rid of The Poem.
I'm talking about "Give me your tired, your poor..." — that poem, "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, which sometimes seems to define us as a nation even more than Lady Liberty herself.
Inscribed on a small brass plaque mounted inside the statue's stone base, the poem is an appendix, added belatedly, and it can safely be removed, shrouded or at least marked with a big asterisk. We live in a different era of immigration, and the schmaltzy sonnet offers a dangerously distorted picture of the relationship between newcomers and their new land. [She Was Never About Those Huddled Masses, Washington Post, July 2, 2009]
The phrases of that tiresome do-gooder poem (e.g. "Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" etc.) are dragged out relentlessly to guilt-trip Americans that we should welcome every hard-luck case on earth.
As a result, when reason fails to convince the citizenry that overpopulating the country with neo-slavery is a good idea, then the open-border hucksters utilize emotional drivel to make their case. For example, Rep. Gutierrez's recent nationanwide Amnesty Tour was a showboat of tearful kiddies sobbing out their victimhood stories about dear dad possibly being deported. Immigrants and refugees continue to be admitted on auto-pilot even now when 15 million Americans are unemployed.
Back to the op-ed — Suro suggests twice that the Emma Lazarus poem can go away: does he really mean we should take the darn thing down and banish it entirely? What an excellent suggestion.
I've long thought that it would be a useful project for our team to demand that the plaque be removed from the statue grounds. The Lazarus poem was put up at the request of the poet's supporters to memorialize her, and its removal at the behest of concerned citizens could be a fine symbolic act to show that we want the Golden Door CLOSED.
America is full: additional immigrants are neither necessary nor desired by the majority of citizens. In fact, responsibility to future generations compels us to stop immigration. If the nation ever needs to import more foreigners at some future time, then we can start it up again.
As the late nature photographer Ansel Adams remarked, "When the theater's full, they don't sell lap-space." He was discussing congestion in Yosemite Valley, but the principle holds true for the country as well, where environmental sustainability has been trampled by the immigration-fueled population explosion. Our population is rapidly approaching 307 million, including "one international migrant (net) every 35 seconds." However, the population number that would not damage the regenerative capacity of our natural resources is estimated at 150 million.
In fact, the environmentally correct number of immigrants is ZERO. Developers are paving over farmland to house the expanding population, and America no longer feeds itself, but relies on imported food. Water shortage is a pressing problem in many areas, where additional users draw down on the finite supply more rapidly. In Crowdifornia, public transportation planners plot a future of standing room only for riders.
Plaque removal — it's not just about dentistry any more. Let's demand that the Park Service retire that dinosaur to a dark closet.