Reclaiming Statue of Liberty's Message, Activists Drop 'Refugees Welcome' Banner

The collective that performed the action calls itself Alt Lady Liberty. (Photo: AP)

Reclaiming Statue of Liberty's Message, Activists Drop 'Refugees Welcome' Banner

'Turning away refugees...does not make us great'

Activists scaled the base of the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday to unfurl a massive banner reading "Refugees Welcome" across the observation deck.

The 20-foot red-and-white banner was up from roughly 12:45pm to just before 4:00pm, when the National Park Service tore it down.

In an email to local media, the collective of activists, which calls itself Alt Lady Liberty, said they were "just private citizens who felt like we needed to say something about the America we believe in."

One organizer added, "Speaking personally--my grandparents met in a refugee camp after WWII, and my mother immigrated. So this touches close to home. But almost every American knows an immigrant or a refugee. We wanted to send a reminder 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."

The act came as President Donald Trump announced plans to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants and released guidelines on "hyper-aggressive" enforcement of his policies.

He has also said he is working on a new executive order blocking immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries in an effort to circumvent a court ruling that temporarily halted his original travel ban, issued in January.

That order prompted massive protests at airports around the country and brought about a flurry of civil rights lawsuits.

Alt Lady Liberty continued in its email, "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."

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