The best response I’ve seen to the Miller assault on history and human decency was posted by Historian Dr. John Fea.
The Trump White House Needs Another Lesson in Historical Thinking
Miller is technically right. “The New Colossus” was added seventeen years after the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.
Miller is wrong when he says that “The New Colossus,” with its reference to the “tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was not connected in any way to the Statue of Liberty. As noted above, Lazarus wrote it to raise money for the statue.
Miller is probably correct to suggest that the addition of “The New Colossus” to the Statue of Liberty in 1903 turned the statue into a symbol of immigration. One could even argue that the Statue of Liberty did not become associated with immigration until well after immigration to the United States dried in the wake of the 1924 Immigration Act.
But all of these points miss Acosta’s argument. Acosta wanted to know if the RAISE Act violates the spirit of American immigration as embodied in the words of Emma Lazarus. Miller said that Acosta’s argument was “ahistorical” because he did not know that “The New Colossus” was added after the Statue of Liberty was raised. Do you see what Miller is doing here? He is practicing a form of misdirection. His correction of Acosta on the facts is little more than a sneaky attempt to avoid the real question the CNN reporter asked about the connections between the past and present. When Acosta asked about the relationship between the RAISE Act and the spirit of American immigration, he was asking a pretty good historical question. It deserved a better answer. There is a difference between knowing facts about the past and doing history.
Acosta could have responded to Miller’s misdirection without throwing the National Park Service under the bus. The way Miller dealt with the past today bears little resemblance to the way the National Park Service promotes history.”