Emma Lazarus wrote her sonnet, "The New Colossus" in 1883. It was donated for auction to raise funds for the Statue of Liberty pedestal. Laws on legal immigration have changed since the late 19th century.
One requirement for citizenship is being a legal permanent resident, which is defined by the federal government; another is moral character. The moral character of a legal permanent resident is evaluated on criminal and tax records and whether or not the person can financially support himself and his dependents. Under Section 212(a)(4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, individuals who at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status are likely at any time to become a public charge are barred from entry into the United States.
Since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Congress has passed seven amnesties for illegal immigrants because of the federal government's failure to secure the border.
Now letter writer Kevin J. Gagen wants to characterize illegal immigrants invading our porous border as refugees. Well, federal law has a definition for what a refugee is as well. The individual must:
* Be located outside the U.S.
* Demonstrate that he was persecuted or fears persecution due to race, religion, nationality or political opinion.
* Not be firmly settled in another country.
* Not be admissible to the United States (to be admissible is to meet the criteria to be a U.S. citizen).
High unemployment and drug cartel violence doesn't apply.