Wineke: Immigrant Denial is Legal, but Wrong

STOUGHTON, Wis. — The Supreme Court has ruled the Trump administration is within its legal rights to deny admission of immigrants to this country who it believes will require public assistance.

It is called a “public charge” policy and it is another step toward an immigration policy that says we only want those immigrants who can pay their own way.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty proclaiming that we welcome the huddled masses yearning to be free is, after all, just a poem and not an article of the Constitution.

The policy is both legal and stupid.

It is legal because the Supreme Court said so and the Supreme Court is the law of the land.

It is stupid because our country is once more proclaiming that we are for sale.  We are no longer a beacon of hope, just a place with better promotion possibilities.

I’m not sure that any of this honestly makes a huge difference in what we actually do as a nation.  President Trump has repeatedly made it clear that only Norwegians seem good enough to allow in.  Since I live in Stoughton, I don’t even necessarily disagree.

But when I see how much of our country was built by immigrants who came here with nothing, sacrificed so their children could obtain good educations and proudly became citizens, I wonder about the wisdom of our national policies.

Sure, some of the immigrants need public assistance.  But their children go on to found companies, cure diseases, invent things and become volunteers for our – and their – armed forces.

There was a time when we could call policies like these pennywise and pound foolish.

We have become a mean society and a society that discourages the kinds of people who leave their homes for lands of opportunity.

One result we are seeing already:  The brightest graduate students of other lands once flocked to our universities.  Increasingly, they are looking elsewhere.

This does not bode well for our future.