As Pastor David Jeremiah stated: “[America’s] attitude toward immigrants is elegantly expressed in the words that are engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.” (“The Bleeding of Our Borders,” Sept. 25, 2016)

The inscription is a sonnet titled “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. The short poem ends with the words: “… 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-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” And as Dr. Jeremiah very succinctly stated, the words accurately sum up our nation’s attitude toward immigrants.

It was either in sixth grade or seventh grade that we as students memorized this poignant prose, and lo these many years later, the words still elicit a deep emotion pursuant to the solemnity of welcome and promise herein found upon America’s hallowed shores.

My first experience with what those words meant, albeit I did not realize it at the time, was with my neighbor Natasha – I think that was her name – who arrived as a little girl from Hungary in 1956 or thereabouts. Some of the details are blurred as a consequence of time, but I remember vividly her showing me a stick with aluminum foil wrapped around one end. She told me that her grandfather had given it to her and that it was a magic wand that she could use to remember him. She spoke English, and we attended elementary school together. But I digress.

The words I referenced above essentially bids those longing for permanence with a future of freedom to come. The name we assign to such a person is “immigrant.” Said assignation is defined as: “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Inherent in that definition for those who seek permanent residence in America is the idea and, I argue, the understanding that said individuals come here through legal channels, pledge allegiance to America, take the requisite steps to become American citizens, adopt the English language and assimilate to the American culture and system of jurisprudence, etc.

That is the understanding people immigrating legally and doing so with good intentions ascribe to.

America has never sealed her doors, but she has taken measured steps to ensure immigration isn’t detrimental to our nation. There were restrictions placed upon the number of unskilled and illiterate. There were limits upon the number of well-educated and skilled as well for the express purpose of making sure those immigrating here did not disaffect U.S. citizens.

Nowhere are those who immigrate here legally told they cannot worship according to the tenets of their faith within reason, i.e., no ritualistic killing of animals, no polygamy, etc.

Specific to the aforementioned, nowhere was it intimated nor was it the design for persons to come here and not assimilate. The idea that people could come here and have their religion dictate the value and place of all other faiths practiced in America was never intended, any more than our Founding Fathers intended for immigrants to come here and establish their own system of laws and governance. It is intentional historical dementia to postulate otherwise.