In a eulogy to America, Fabiola Santiago’s column for the Miami Herald mourns the loss of American values in her piece entitled, “It’s time to don mourning clothes for the America we knew. Poor immigrants, stay away.” As she deftly points out, after the Supreme Court of the United States decided to greenlight Trump’s public charge rule, the U.S. is no longer a beacon of hope for immigrants, but a country designed only for the wealthy. Directly blaming GOP complicity and SCOTUS’s disregard for the essential story of what makes America America, Santiago reflects on the immigrants who define her city of Miami and the country as a whole, who fled oppression and overcame poverty, deprivation and racism to make their lives here.
Below are key excerpts from Fabiola Santiago’s column for the Miami Herald:
It is shameful that the wealthiest country in the world can be this petty, this scornful of the less fortunate when the parameters to receive public service are already quite strict.
But the destruction of core American values like generosity, open arms and human rights is the price to pay for President Trump and his GOP allies’ low-class, low-blow attempt to keep brown and black people from rising in this country.
That the Supreme Court would go along with discriminatory policy is the direct result of a hyper-partisan election based on stoking the real and imagined fears of Americans in a post 9-11 world.
To understand the breadth of the Supreme Court’s blow to immigrants, consider this:
Miami wouldn’t be what it is today under Trump’s public charge rule if only the wealthiest of Cubans had been allowed to come to the United States after Fidel Castro rose to power and installed communism on the island.
Waves of immigrants fleeing Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War ended, Haiti during the brutal Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier regimes, and Central and Latin America dictatorships wouldn’t have qualified, either.
But that’s the point of a Trump policy shaped by an adviser on immigration who spews white-nationalist rhetoric as truth, Stephen Miller. He is the son of liberal Jews whose patriarch, a Belarus farmer, arrived on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903 with $8 in his pocket.
His dishonorable self-loathing, which found a conduit in Trump’s presidential ambition, belittles our nation’s quintessential immigrant history.
And he isn’t alone.
So do other immigrants who support Trump and his policies — and came to this country on airlifts, boatlifts, refugee programs, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, and overstaying tourist visas.
It is evil, this taking pleasure in crushing the oppressed, the persecuted, the most needy.
The Statue of Liberty and the Freedom Tower in Miami should be cloaked in black today.
It is a day of mourning for us, for who we have become as Americans.