“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-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Apparently, these words engraved on the Statue of Liberty, one of our country’s most enduring and beloved symbols of hope and freedom, mean nothing to Gov. Paul LePage (“LePage now ‘adamantly opposes’ accepting Syrian refugees,” Nov. 16).

How shameful that our great state closes the door to human beings who are suffering, who are terrorized, who are being killed by the thousands.

Can we turn away from the shocking image of that little Syrian boy dead on a beach in Turkey? Did we learn nothing from our history of turning away Jewish refugees trying to escape the horrors of the Holocaust?

Why are the words that we hold up as an ideal to our citizens not applicable to Syrians or other Muslim refugees? Too often we are quick to marginalize people whose skin looks different than ours or whose religion or way of life seems strange to us.

We move quickly to embrace the traumatized people of France when they endure a horrible attack, but we shrug our shoulders at the death and destruction visited on people in Beirut, in Kenya, in Somalia or Southeast Asia by terrorists.

We forget that they, like us, yearn for peace and safety and a life of opportunity for their children. Shame on Gov. LePage and shame on us if we refuse to embrace “the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Mary Mitchell Friedman

Cape Elizabeth