- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

Give me your tired, your poor, your hackneyed cliches. That’s what President Obama did when addressing immigration policy at the American University on Thursday.

Perched in the ivory tower for a few minutes, the president invented a whopper about the origins of the Statue of Liberty and the famous poem about it by Emma Lazarus. Mr. Obama took the story of a monument donated by France for that republic’s own propagandistic purposes and a poem its own author didn’t want to write and turned them into a morality tale on behalf of illegal aliens.

According to Obama mythology, Lazarus was a driving force behind Lady Liberty. “Years before the statue was built - years before it would be seen by throngs of immigrants craning their necks skyward at the end of a long and brutal voyage, years before it would come to symbolize everything that we cherish - she imagined what it could mean,” he said. The truth, however, is that the statue was almost finished when she penned the poem, which she didn’t do because she was “inspired” but because she was talked into it - after first refusing to write the verse - by a literary colleague named Constance Clay Harrison.

What’s most shameless about the president’s willful distortion of history is that it was used to justify the left’s agenda to provide amnesty for illegal aliens, which undermines the real account of Ellis Island as a landing point where legal immigrants filled out paperwork in compliance with this nation’s laws. Mr. Obama also twisted the facts about his administration’s inaction on immigration and the state of Arizona’s reasonable efforts to combat the alien influx.

In a fit of fear-mongering, Mr. Obama claimed Arizona’s recent immigration law has “the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound.” The fact is that Arizona’s law explicitly forbids such profiling. Mr. Obama claimed to be holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers. In truth, his administration filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to throw out an Arizona law that held corporations to the same standards required of federal contractors.

Mr. Obama should stop pillaging American history for partisan speeches. The huddled masses prefer the truth.