Retiring the Statue of Liberty


Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, wrote a post in about immigration policies under the Trump administration.

I remember him (barely) as a thin, bald, little old man with a white mustache and a cane. As I write this, I’m looking at a photo of him in 1947, holding the hand of little Tommy Engelhardt who had just turned three that very July day. They’re on a street somewhere in Brooklyn, New York, Tommy in shorts and a T-shirt and his grandfather, Moore (that wasn’t his original name), wearing a suit and tie. It’s hard to imagine him as the young Jewish boy from the Austro-Hungarian Empire who ran away from home — somewhere in modern-day Poland — after reportedly “pulling the Rabbi’s whiskers” in a dispute. By his own account, he spent two desperate years working to scrape together the money for passage alone in the steerage of a ship from Hamburg to America and finally made it here in the early 1890s with the equivalent of a 50-cent piece in his pocket. And he was a lucky man.

He died when I was five, but sometimes I try to imagine him arriving in New York harbor and seeing that lady, the Statue of Liberty, for the first time. A century and a quarter later, I still wonder what, at that moment, he dreamed of when it came to the country that would indeed welcome him (though his life, in those early years, was — at least as family stories had it — anything but easy). How could I imagine myself as I am now (a bald little old man with a white mustache) without him, without that moment? So today, as Donald Trump does his best to keep every imaginable modern version of my grandfather out of this country and eject so many of those “Moores” now living here, I wonder about the grim cruelty of our world.

Read full post.




Comments are closed.