Letter to the Editor

Emma Lazarus’s words on immigration

Monday, August 6, 2018

The plaque on the Stature of Liberty reads:

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses, yearning to be free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The statue was officially dedicated in 1889 by president Grover Cleveland with the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed at its base. Today, at our borders, are asylum seekers trying to escape bombed out homes and lands, others trying to escape poverty and gang violence, and others trying to find a life of freedom and justice.

President Trump’s policy of “zero tolerance” identifies all unauthorized entries as criminal acts, even those of people seeking asylum. This practice is totally illegal and binding on the United States!

After World War II, the United Nations ruled, as a result of Nazi practices to expulse Jews and other minorities, it would be illegal to treat those seeking asylum as criminals even if they enter irregularly. Under refugee law, the U.S. is bound to provide everyone fleeing persecution or torture with a fair opportunity to make their case for asylum and protection against deportation. Enforcement of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy not only resulted in instant deportation or imprisonment, it proceeded to separate the children from their parents with no plan to reunite them.

It would seem that violation of international law should be added to the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice.

Robert Sneitzer, Spirit Lake