President Donald Trump is likely not enjoying his anniversary of being sworn in. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are attending this year’s Women’s March to protest his administration. His approval ratings are in the tank. And oh, the government has shut down.
Though nothing quite illustrates the dysfunction and vitriol of this administration as much as the Statue of Liberty ― a shining beacon for immigrants and America’s traditional values ― being closed on Saturday as part of the government shutdown.
In the last year, Trump has turned his back on the ideals Americans often espouse. The president attempted to block the passage of people from Muslim-majority countries from coming into the U.S. (he failed). He wants to build a stupidly expensive, unnecessary wall to keep out Mexicans and Central Americans. And under Trump, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has ramped up its efforts to kick out immigrants who have spent the vast majority of their lives here.
It gets worse.
Just this month, Trump reportedly described Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries” in a closed Oval Office meeting. He instead suggested the U.S. bring in immigrants from nations like Norway.
But nothing quite shows the disdain he has for immigrants in this nation like his handling of Dreamers, unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who know no other home. Last September, Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), originally put in place by former President Barack Obama, which protected these young immigrants from deportation.
Democratic lawmakers have made it clear that they won’t support the policy many say is racist. Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, used immigrant lives as a bargaining chip for the government shutdown, which occurred after Congress was unable to reach a budget agreement by midnight on Friday.
Trump, in all his “stable genius,” has passed the blame off on Democrats for the shutdown that has also led to the closure of Lady Liberty. It is the first time in the history of this country that a government shutdown has happened despite the House, Senate, and White House all being under the control of one party.
The Statue of Liberty last made national headlines after White House aide Stephen Miller said in August that the poem inscribed on the statue, “New Colossus,” had no significance because it was added later.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the poem reads. “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For now, Lady Liberty’s doors are closed. And until this administration recognizes the noble belief that this is a country for all, perhaps those doors should remain closed.