The United States enjoys a lofty reputation worldwide as the land of opportunity and dreams, the welcoming home to all who want to be free, the brave new world that embraces huddled masses and offers them limitless possibilities to find freedom, liberty, and happiness. In marked juxtaposition to this welcomeness narrative is the counter-narrative of historic exclusion evidenced by the harsh description of these "huddled masses, yearning to breathe free" as "wretched refuse." Indeed, to describe some immigrants as "wretched refuse" manifests that Lady Liberty's welcome is, at best, highly selective and, at worst, patently discriminatory. The irony, of course, lies in the basic truth of both narratives - anecdotes imbued with tension throughout.
Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol & Kimberly A. Johns, Global Rights, Local Wrongs, and Legal Fixes: An International Human Rights Critique of Immigration and Welfare 'Reform', 71 S. Cal. L. Rev. 547 (1998)