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Refined meaning of Sanctuary City
La Voz Staff Photo

By David Conde

It occurs to me that so much of what the Statue of Liberty represents has been taken up by the modern city. The city is like the Statue of Liberty that beckons the immigrant to join the American experience with a poem that describes its essence and purpose.

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses, your yearning to breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,

I left my lamp beside the golden door.

That poem is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.

The Statue of Liberty can be described as a metaphor that welcomes and connects the immigrant to the American Dream. The poem and the monument also portrays the spiritual dimension of the Holy Book and the essence of the Jesus Christ message to believers.

The Statue of Liberty represents the sanctuary that is America that allows for the freedom to pursue avenues and initiatives leading to prosperity and happiness in an atmosphere of true opportunity. It stands at the doorway facing the east and what was the tortured land of Europe.

The meaning of the Statue of Liberty is effectively reflected in the concept of the city because it is increasingly the city that represents the most important vehicle for opportunity and progress. It is the modern city that provides the landscape for success as it offers the freedom and opportunity to take on the challenges of progress.

The term “sanctuary” denotes a “consecrated place,” a “place of refuge and protection,” and a place of some “immunity from the law.” Just like the meaning of the Statue of Liberty, the city is also a metaphor and a place that provides a modern gateway to the American Dream.

It is no secret that the sanctuary city is under attack by those who no longer believe in its transformative value. They see the city as an extension of the immigrant experience and display little tolerance for that foreign-born segment of our society.

The undocumented members of this country are the primary targets of the anti-immigrant community that fears for its own future. Many in this group have, for a long time, been feeling threatened by the multicultural aspects that describes the nature of the new immigrant.

That together with rise in the stature of minority communities that are culturally pluralistic reinforces that unfounded anxiety that increases as the dominant group loses its majority.

The irony is that whoever takes over the standard of opportunity will continue to fulfill the role that continues the greatness of America. At the same time, the reasons that impel anti-immigrant feelings, actions and policies are resulting in a diminished American exceptionalism.

The immigrant has always been motivated by the American Dream that creates the energy to move the country forward. Since the American Dream is an immigrant dream, there is much to recommend that we encourage that energy toward the sustainability of national greatness.

The city is the center of this energy that is both spiritual and economic. It is also the new beacon of opportunity for those who want to work and need only the opportunity to succeed..

The city is also the citadel that guards the interests of America’s future and is a sanctuary that carries on the theme established by the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. In addition, the city offers the promise to connect the immigrant to the possibilities that with work and persistence can lead to success.





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