Insulting a Poem, and our Heritage (A Daily News Op-Ed)

July 14, 2013. In an op-ed for the Daily News, by David Dyssegaard Kallick takes on the ways Emma Lazarus’s famous poem (“give me your tired, your poor…”) has distorted in recent media stories about immigration, and brings the debate back to America’s roots.

“Give me your tired, your poor . . . If there’s room after more Ph.D.s,” is the headline from a recent article in TechCrunch, which goes on to explain Congress’ “awe-inspiring consensus over its support for high-skilled immigrants.” What we really want today, some say, is not people yearning to be free, but highly skilled people yearning to work temporarily in America.

Sorry, but why the focus on Ph.D.s? And, why the temporary visas? Less well-educated immigrants have made major contributions to the American economy. The majority of immigrant small-business owners in the United States, for example, do not have a college degree — as is also true for U.S.-born small-business owners.

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