Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For over 5 years, I lived in New York, and daily took the D train home to Brooklyn, which came out of the ground and passed across the Manhattan bridge. Each night, I would stand up and go to the door and look through the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance and watch for the lit Statue of Liberty to appear from behind the skyline. It was a life-affirming act.
When I had time, I also loved to take the Staten Island Ferry with its incredible majestic view of Lady Liberty (I still do it each year when I visit New York). I never took the tour, though, of Liberty Island. To set foot on her as a tourist seemed… sacrilegious somehow. I admire her from a distance and think about the principles of freedom and humanity embodied in our great country that she represents.
At Reason, Jacob Sullum writes: Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Country
Another victim of such imaginary charges is Jerry Lemaine, a 28-year-old New Yorker who was born in Haiti but has lived in this country since he was 3. Caught with a joint on Long Island in 2007, Lemaine pleaded guilty and paid a $100 fine, only to be shipped off to Texas by immigration authorities. They detained him there for three years after determining that he, like Carachuri, qualified as an “aggravated felon” in the 5th Circuit (though not in the 2nd Circuit, where he was cited for the marijuana).
Lemaine, you see, had also been charged with possessing a small amount of marijuana as a teenager. Although the charge was ultimately dismissed, in the federal government’s view it still made him a recidivist, which made him an aggravated felon, which made him deportable without recourse for drug violations that in New York do not even qualify as criminal offenses.
How do we, as a country, look at ourselves in the mirror?
Is that a tear in Lady Liberty’s eyes? Or just my own?