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. – Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus,” 1883. Engraved on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
This morning a motley crowd carrying banners and waving flags gathered on Cadman Plaza. In a procession more than a mile long, they walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and into lower Manhattan to protest a bill currently before the U.S. Congress. The proposed legislation, known as H.R.4437, would radically change immigration policies.
America has long been a nation of immigrants. The laws governing who can enter, who may live and work and go to school within our borders, and who is entitled to social services continually change as the political winds blow.
H.R. 4437, also known as the Border Security Bill, would (among other provisions) require construction of a 700 mile long fence (1120 km) along the Mexican border and would oblige the federal government to imprison non-citizens who are in the U.S. without the proper immigration paperwork.