Dear Editor: “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.”

These famous words of American writer Emma Lazarus are poignantly inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. The sonnet encompasses the essence of Lady Liberty as she raises her torch over 300 feet in the air, welcoming individuals from all races and social classes to America.

Oct. 28 is Statue of Liberty Day -- the date we honor America’s beacon for immigrants across the world. The Statue of Liberty has long served as a symbol of inclusiveness, multiculturalism and freedom. Her presence signals to the rest of the world that the United States is a country where opportunities are plentiful and dreams are limitless.

Though the Statue of Liberty serves as a welcoming symbol, American attitudes toward new immigrants usually lag far behind. Unfortunately, many politicians who are more concerned with their careers than upholding those ideals have neither challenged fear-based rhetoric and factual inaccuracies, nor stepped up to offer real solutions for our broken system. Over the years, quota systems and enforcement-only immigration policies have become an increasing trend for “fixing” America’s immigration issues. But what the nation needs is immigration reform which helps serve Liberty’s purpose -- to illuminate the way for all of mankind.

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On this year’s Statue of Liberty Day, join in celebrating Lady Liberty’s purpose: to welcome newcomers to our shores. And on this important day, let’s take the time to remember the countless contributions of the millions of immigrants she has helped to greet and welcome along the way.

Jerry Grzeca

Milwaukee