Monday, June 9, 2008
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor...
I've taken on an interesting project that I wrote about in an earlier post. One of our employees is very excited about immigrating to the United States as part of the U.S Government sponsored-Iraqi Refugee Program. He's been asking questions non-stop, which has forced me to think through very carefully the answers that I give him.
In short, he has no idea where he would want to live in the U.S. His only criteria is that he does not want to live in an Arab community, and it must be very rainy. Apparently he and his wife have seen pictures of people walking with umbrellas in the States during a rain shower and are quite taken by the idea of a lot of rain. Other than that, it's a blank slate.
My friend's entire goal in life is to own a small market and raise his two children in a safe and nurturing environment. Oddly enough, his wife is telling him that she wants no part of going to the United States, but he looks at me with a smile and says, "No problem, I can change her mind very easily". We've been talking about renting an apartment versus buying a home, small towns versus big cities, neighborhood markets as opposed to Wal-Mart. It's as if I'm teaching a course on American culture, and he's eager and hungry to learn everything that he can. To him it's as if some impossible dream has suddenly come true. I'm happy for him and his family and I know that some small community will gain greatly from his presence. He's one of the kindest souls I've ever met.
"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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"