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Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses

Posted by Casebier 1 year ago to Economics
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Emma Lazarus wrote her poem containing “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses…” as a fundraiser for the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty erected in 1886. (Although a gift from France, we had to build and pay for the base Lady Liberty stands on). When her words were later memorialized on a plaque attached to the base of the statue, New York City and America were far different places than they are today. Nonetheless, open immigration advocates regularly refer to this phrase on the statue as something equivalent to a provision in the Constitution.
In 1886, the U.S. population was slightly under 40 million; today is about 327 million. Its states numbered 38 plus western territories still largely unsettled and having a land area equaling about 30% of today’s “lower 48”. Including its boroughs New York City had a population of about 2.2 million vs today’s 8.6 million, and some of the north end of Manhattan was still occupied by shanty towns and barely improved roads.
With abundant mid-western and western lands still wide open for homesteading and settlement, an immigrant could come to the U.S. and have choices for their economic future that existed nowhere else in the world. America’s cities were available for urban development. Even more incredulous to immigrants, its abundant land could be acquired in perpetual ownership for little or no money, while often in their home countries only season-to-season serfdom was available on lands owned by nobility. 1886 America was barely 20 years past its Civil War, had plenty of room to grow in its urban centers, and welcomed immigrants to settle its mostly unsettled western lands. It was becoming the world’s leading industrial innovator, and American exceptionalism would be broadly displayed 6 years later at the grandest world’s fair ever undertaken. The Chicago World’s Fair dazzled spectators with the first Ferris Wheel, the broad introduction of alternating electric current, Tesla’s two phase induction motors, the Morse code telegraph, even electric incubators for chicken eggs. In short, America was booming, had room for, needed and welcomed immigrants who came here where economic success could be achieved through work and innovation, not inherited through blood or political connections.
While America was booming and becoming the world’s top industrial powerhouse in 1886, the rest of the hemisphere wasn’t sitting still. The British Empire was near its economic influence peak and continued to be North America’s top trading partner with much of Canada’s economy built on supplying Britain with staples of fish, timber, wheat and furs. At the same time the 1880’s saw Mexico enjoying a period of political stability and economic advances including openings to foreign investment and foreign migration. Both U.S. neighbors also had land aplenty and no resident desires to emigrate to the U.S. The world’s population pressures were comparatively nonexistent at 1.5 billion, one-fifth the population of the world today.
The differences between America of the 1880’s and of the 21st century couldn’t be more evident. Today the U.S. is competing with every country in a highly industrialized and computerized world, many with low labor costs allowing them to wrest market share from U.S. manufacturers. Today poorly paid labor can emigrate to any higher paying economy that will accept them – that is if they can get there – and the U.S. with one of the world’s highest paying labor markets. With relatively few economic barriers to entry and a broad spectrum of government provided social services, it’s no surprise that billions of the world’s poor would love to come here. Compared to the dearth of economic opportunities in their home countries, America still holds true to the promise that the least of immigrants can not only survive, but with education and hard work can prosper.
The problem is that those who parrot Emma Lazarus’ words fail to understand, or simply don’t want to understand, the realities of immigration today. With 3 billion of the world’s population living on less than $2 a day, immigration of a million tired, poor and huddles masses to the U.S. every year will hardly make a dent in the world’s poverty, nor will it make a dent in Mexican poverty, but what it will do is provide competition for our existing labor force, hold down wages, broaden the gap between our rich and poor, and add additional pressures on our already over-burdened educational and social service infrastructures. In addition, immigration of skilled labor and the best and brightest from poor countries robs them of the very persons whose skills, talents and ambitions those countries need to pull themselves up economically. The best demonstration of this is the gumball video you can see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzf....
Anyway, the purpose of this piece has been to arm you with some facts so when some bleeding heart opines that a restrictive immigration system hurts America and defiles our immigration principles of being open to the world’s tired, poor and huddled masses, you can either point out their uneducated and misguided understanding of immigration today vs 1886, or you can simply say “Male Bovine Excrement!” or something like that.


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  • Posted by  $  blarman 1 year ago
    Well stated. Thank you!

    The question I continue to ask is this: if you see America as the nation to mimic, why not make your own nation into an America of your own? Why not reform your own country and keep your heritage, your traditions, your families, but enable them to enjoy the freedoms of America?
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  • Posted by chad 1 year ago
    Interesting visual demonstration, I have always stated that the only and best way to help others is to make them free where they live. If they are not then nothing else can be done that actually matters. Individuals might send money through charities that might help a few but won't really change their lives until individuals are responsible and permitted to change their lives. Individuals can still choose to be poor, that will never change.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year ago
    Yes, times change. Save for outer $pace and perhaps the deep blue $ea, the USA has no more room for frontiers to conquer.
    The leadership of the left's hunger for an influx of poor huddled masses is less about the bleeding hearts of their voters and more about about the acquisition of political power.
    When Candidate Evil Hag proclaimed, "I dream of open borders," that was all about flooding this nation with ignorant and pliable future fully indoctrinated Jackass Party voters.
    This is to progress the progressive end game of complete domination of the America citizenry, the disassembly of rule of law under the (left's viewed as quaint) US Constitution and the establishment of a dreamed of socialist utopia.
    Of course, as usual, this shall turn into a utopia only for the privileged class of the Animal Farm more than equal~oink! oink!~elite betters.
    The dream of our Founding Fathers will degrade into the very nightmare they predicted as a possibility.
    http://www.ourrepubliconline.com/Auth...
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    • Posted by 1 year ago
      You're absolutely right. While the poor immigrant wants to come to America for economic reasons, the Democrats want them because they can buy their votes with their social programs funded by taxpayers (you know the 50% of income earners that still pay taxes). But of course the Democrats never say that, but instead couch it in phrases like, "Restricting immigration is not our core values" or "we're a land of immigrants and should grant immigrants the same access as did our founders" or "the 'tired, poor, huddled masses'" argument. This was to provide a reason reply to the latter argument, not that the Democrats or liberals ever care about reason or reality, only votes and no restrictions on voting.
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 1 year ago
        The Democrat leadership using a flood of immigrants to achieve their socialist takeover end goal is what's scary.
        Consider that and the likelihood that another charismatic King Barry may come along.
        With the perfect storm of both the Senate and the House also gone Jackass?
        Out of this world scary as hell!
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 1 year ago
    The liberals treat Emma Lazarus' poem as an unchanging provision of the U.S. Constitution, and yet claim that the Constitution is a "living, breathing document". Sorry, you can't have it both ways.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 1 year ago
    Thank you for casting a light on one of the least discussed aspects of immigration and one of the most important aspects. Ms. Lazarus would not recognize NYC let alone the USA of today.
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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 year ago
    If the economy grows as rapidly as I suspect it will, thanks to President Trump's tax reformation, we're going to need more labor. I know the unemployment figures, which claim a 4.1% are jiggered to hide a much higher rate, but finding qualified, industrious workers is becoming much harder according to many corporate officials.

    I'm not an open borders advocate, but a merit based immigration system needs to be flexible to accommodate the needs of our economy. There's less call for unskilled labor than before, but with heavy infrastructure projects, semiskilled and skilled labor will be badly needed.

    Even in some "s--thole" countries there are people skilled in construction, as one example. Because of misguided, out of date immigration policies, America is the only developed country that doesn't have a merit based system. People who add value, and benefit from well paying jobs are hard to persuade that they need welfare, which is why Democrats don't want a system that welcomes these people.
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  • Posted by  $  CaptainKirk 1 year ago
    I might just start replying with:
    We had slavery back then, are you suggesting that TOO is appropriate today?

    But GREAT Article! And I have always loved the Gumball Video...

    Edit: BTW, when Tesla first got to America he said we were clearly (25 or 50) years behind Europe. He was shocked...
    And after being here for like 15 years, he went back, and Amazingly he felt Europe was at least 25 years behind America!
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