Immigration Quotes and Quips

I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched America’s soil.

Stephen Miller, senior advisor to President Trump on immigration matters. Meanwhile, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 25.9 million refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries.

We cannot just sit idly by and watch our most vulnerable neighbors become collateral damage, stemming from hard-lined ideologies…. No one should have to choose between food and family.

Op-ed opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed rule that would put at risk foreign nationals’ eligibility for green cards if previously, while lawfully residing in the U.S., they lawfully accessed public benefits such as food stamps or Medicaid.

We the Indians of the Onandaga Tribe of the Six Nations Confederacy of New York State, after giving due consideration to the [Citizenship Act of 1924] … are not in any way capable of taking up the responsibilities of citizenship such as which the aforementioned [Act] is designed to enforce on the Indians…. [T]he [Act] is a destructive and an injurious weapon [that abrogates] the Treaty between the United States and the Six Nation Indians concluded in March 3, 1792.

Letter from the Chiefs of the Onandaga Nation to President Calvin Coolidge, Dec. 30, 1924, protesting the Citizenship Act of 1924. The Act declared that all Indians born within the United States are U.S. citizens. Indians had mixed reactions. Some considered the Act a way to secure long-denied political rights. Others, such as the Onandaga chiefs, considered the Act to be a tool for forced assimilation and weakening of their tribe’s rights as a nation.

We should have a better understanding and better relationship [with Mexico] than we’ve ever had…. Rather than talking about putting up a fence … why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems?

Ronald Reagan, 1980 GOP presidential debate

Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.

Jack Paar, author and comedian, hosted The Tonight Show 1957-1962.

The most fundamental legislative goal of the white nationalist movement is to limit nonwhite immigration. It is important to remember that such limits were in place during the lifetimes of many current white nationalists; it was the default status until the 1960s. In the 1790s, the first naturalization laws of the United States Congress limited citizenship to a “free white person.”

R. Derek Black, son of former Alabama Klan leader. Derek was following in his father’s footsteps until he began to question the white nationalist movement’s ideology.

Confession and penance are akin to sacraments in immigration law, and the process of asking the government to pardon your client’s digressions is a disconcerting combination of formulaic and theatrical.

Attorney Jawziya Zaman describing the process of representing clients in immigration court who are seeking relief from deportation. The same could be said about visa applicants seeking “waivers” of ineligibility for previous crimes and immigration violations.

Here I am with my immigration form
It’s big enough to keep me warm….
There he was with his immigration face
Giving me a paper chase….
Let me in, immigration man

Graham Nash, lyrics from “Immigration Man,” a song about his experience with a U.S. Customs official. (YouTube)

As a nation, we began by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.

Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters

Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.

John F. Kennedy

[The Immigration and Nationality Act] is not known for being warm or cuddly; words like “intricate” and “Byzantine” come more easily to mind…. Nor is it known for being easy to understand; we have often remarked on its fiendish complexity.

Akram v. Holder (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2013)

[The Immigration and Nationality Act] places the burden of proof upon the applicant to establish eligibility to receive a visa. However, the applicant is entitled to have full consideration given to any evidence presented to overcome a presumption or finding of ineligibility. It is the policy of the U.S. Government to give the applicant every reasonable opportunity to establish eligibility to receive a visa. This policy is the basis for the review of refusals at consular offices and by the Department.

U.S. State Department, 9 FAM 206.2-1.

A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in. And how many want out.

Tony Blair

You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?

Elie Wiesel

Feel free to suggest a quote or quip in the comments.

1 comment

  1. Some of these quotes and comments I knew. Many I didn’t.
    But I appreciate all of them Gary.
    They serve to inspire and give courage.
    They foster greater understanding – an understanding of both America’s history as well our diverse immigrant population, especially in these dark & uncertain times.
    Perhaps one additional quote would be particularly apt for those immigrants who are suffering, victimized and troubled: “This too shall pass”, my friends.
    Don’t despair -for America IS better than this present moment of fear, hatred, mistrust & lies. This too shall pass!
    And the immigrants reading this comment will be big part of making it better,
    just as they have been throughout our nation’s history.
    If you stay strong and follow your dreams you’ll make us all stronger as a country.
    And as the proud son of immigrants I thank you for that.

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