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Imagine if the poem on the Statue of Liberty were to read, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free—as long as they have enough money to support themselves when they come here.” That’s what the 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court on immigration effectively does: It rewrites the values, the history, and the essence of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Like so many others with grandparents and great-grandparents who came through Ellis Island fleeing oppression, seeking freedom, and with very little idea how they would make a living in their new home, I am the descendant of immigrants who, in all likelihood, would never have passed the new, anti-American means test. Who among us can tell which immigrant who arrives penniless on these shores will become a productive contributor to our country? And who knows which immigrant (or, for that matter, someone whose family has been here for years) will need government assistance at some time in their life? Back in the era before the Civil War, there was an anti-immigrant political party called the Know Nothings. Today, we are afflicted with a new generation of Know Nothings who know nothing, but presume to know everything about which immigrants will contribute to our country’s well-being, based on no data, and "no nothing." Today, the Statue of Liberty sheds a tear.
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