Lady Liberty’s dimming light

If a debate, and the sentiments it subsequently evokes, can ever undo a nation’s character, the debate over “the wall,” the banning of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations and the refusal to take in refugees, is doing so to the United States.

In recent weeks, the U.S., the promised land for the persecuted everywhere, has seen its Jewish cemeteries vandalized, brown-skinned immigrants assaulted and several mosques and Muslim establishments attacked. Refugees are being rejected by a public that hardly has any knowledge of who they are and what they bring to our communities.

Thirty years ago, I was one such refugee. I arrived in the U.S. just as Lady Liberty knows: Tired and poor, with only a backpack on my back and a few words of English in my lexicon. In me, the adolescent angst and anger stirred more than the average teenager, perhaps because of an ugly year in transit and an uprooting from my homeland Iran, to which, despite the bleakest of circumstances, I felt profoundly attached.

Politico, March 6, 2017