Listening to a report about Donald Trump’s present visit to the UK on Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme, and to some sound-bites from Trump himself, I was struck by the phrase: “immigration is taking over”.
Says the man who seems unaware of the irony of making such a statement while serving as President of a nation that, in modern times (ie. over the last 300 years or so), has been built on a level of immigration that truly was an invasion and, from the view of those who had lived there previously, a dangerously hostile one. I wonder what he makes of those words displayed on New York’s Statue of Liberty?
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!
I can’t imagine that his appreciation of this snippet from a sonnet by Emma Lazarus would have much in common with what I see in it. Nor does his apparent view of immigration: life-blood of nations. When immigrants flock to you, it shows your country as a place of promise; the worry is not when people want to come in but when they feel the need to leave.