Justice

This Banner Just Got Taken Down From the Statue of Liberty

Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus," which is engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty, reads in part: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of anonymous activists hung a banner on the Statue of Liberty with a similar message, albeit in much plainer terms: "Refugees Welcome."

Alt Lady LIberty, the group claiming responsibility for the banner, told ATTN: in a statement that it was hung in response to President Donald Trump's since-stalled executive order on immigration, which temporarily halted travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from entering the country.

"The action was taken by private citizens who are concerned about the un-American turn our immigration policy has taken and decided to speak up," the statement reads. "The Muslim Ban flies against everything that's great about America. That's true of the unconstitutional original version, and the spirit of any edits they may make to it."

Though Trump's initial travel ban was temporarily halted by a federal judge, the Associated Press reports that the administration is working on a new version that will impose similar restrictions on travelers hailing from Muslim-majority countries, and keep in place a 50,000 refugee cap, a significant reduction from the Obama years.

According to a local ABC report, the banner was quickly removed, with officials reminding people that "affixing a banner to the national monument is strictly prohibited."

Nevertheless, Twitter users could could not help but note the irony of a pro-refugee banner being removed from the Statue of Liberty, and prompting an investigation.

An anonymous participant in the demonstration told ATTN: that they didn't have any hard feelings toward the park rangers, saying "the Park Service staff who maintain the Statue day in and day out as a symbol of liberty are tremendous — we hope they understand why we felt it important to uphold that spirit."

Read Alt Lady Liberty's full statement to ATTN: below:

The action was taken by private citizens who are concerned about the un-American turn our immigration policy has taken and decided to speak up.

The Muslim Ban flies against everything that's great about America. That's true of the unconstitutional original version, and the spirit of any edits they may make to it.

Almost all Americans have descendants from somewhere else. Immigrants and refugees make this country great. And turning away refugees, like we did to Anne Frank, does not make us great. Refugees are welcome here, Muslims are welcome here and immigrants are welcome here.

And it's not just our ancestors. Every American knows an immigrant or a refugee. We wanted to send a reminder today about America when we're at our best -- the country that's a beacon of freedom to the world, built by immigrants. Walling off countries or entire religions is against our values. That's what the Statue of Liberty stands for.