Thursday 25 May 2017

American dream could yet come true for illegal Irish

A tourist cruise passes by the Statue of Liberty in New York City
A tourist cruise passes by the Statue of Liberty in New York City

Gerard O'Regan

For anybody who has ever taken a boat journey approaching the mouth of New York harbour, the Statue of Liberty forging ever closer from a distance is a haunting and majestic sight. Giant-size when seen up close, it was a beacon of welcome and a signpost of hope for millions of emigrants when they arrived in what was known as the "New World''.

Durable and defiant in its solidity, and holding aloft the famous torch, which signified for so many what is described as the American dream, it's impossible not to be affected by its powerful symbolism.

And as the waters lap around the shoreline of lower Manhatt​a​n, on nearby Ellis island lies the gaunt presence of some old buildings, which were once the pivotal point for entry to the US. By the time this complex closed in 1954, over 12 million people - all of whom hoped to become US citizens - had passed through its doors.

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