Donald Trump's Immigration Chief Just Revised the Words on the Statue of Liberty to Justify Trump's Crackdown on Poor Legal Immigrants

Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images // plus49/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli spoke to NPR's Rachel Martin the day after rolling out a new regulation that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become American citizens.

The rule favors wealthier immigrants, while immigrants who use or might use public benefits like food stamps and medicaid will be likely have their visa and green card applications delayed or denied all together.


Cuccinelli told Martin that the rule is just an enforcement of the 140 year old "public charge" rule, which is designed to discourage prospective Americans who would rely on the government for support. President Donald Trump's immigration officials are broadening the programs under the jurisdiction of the public charge rule to include healthcare and meal assistance.

Toward the end of the interview, Martin asked Cuccinelli if the rule is reflective of the historic words Emma Lazarus assigned to the Statue of Liberty in her poem, The New Colossus : "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-tost to me."

Hear Cuccinelli's answer below:

Responding to if Lazarus's words still apply to the American dream, Cuccinelli offered his own version of the quote:

"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

Martin reminded Cuccinelli that many of the most legendary Americans came here with nothing or descended from those who came with nothing. Cuccinelli insisted that the expansion of the public charge rule is not a change to the so-called American dream.

Seventy four percent of Americans receiving any public assistance typically use that assistance for under four years, despite Cuccinelli claiming that disadvantaged legal immigrants are destined to become public charges.

It's almost as though public welfare programs in the United States help get people on their feet until they're not in need of the assistance any more.

People had some pointed questions for Cuccinelli.

And they had plenty of opinions on his interpretation of The New Colossus.

Cuccinelli was also asked about the words associated with the Statue of Liberty at a press conference Monday morning announcing the rule.

It too was poorly received.

David McNew/Getty Images; Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has used a symbiotic relationship with Fox News to advance his rhetoric and propaganda.

But occasionally his favorite network decides to air dissenting opinions or facts that disprove statements made by Trump.

Keep reading...
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images // Republican National Committee

President Donald Trump's administration has tried for over a year to wield the United States census to bolster its anti-immigrant platform, rather than getting an accurate count of the country's populace to better allocate its resources.

The administration has long sought to add a citizenship question, despite warnings that it could result in underreporting of the population and the targeting of immigrants.

According to reporting from The Tampa Bay Times, Republican party is once again using the census to bolster its interests.

Keep reading...
Emily Assiran/Getty Images for Pizza Hut // Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Donald Trump was enraged at the news that Russia was working to elect him once again in 2020.

But Russia once again seeking to interfere in our elections wasn't what enraged him. It's that officials sounded the alarm about it.

Keep reading...
Andrew Harrer - Pool/Getty Images // David McNew/Getty Images

President Donald Trump replaced former Acting Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with longtime Trump ally and ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. The move came after Trump rebuffed Coats for announcing Russia's ongoing attempts to interfere in the 2020 election.

Grenell was deemed vastly unqualified for the position, to the point that officials had to assure Americans that the new Director of National Intelligence would be announced soon.

Trump said he was considering his longtime ally in Congress, Representative Doug Collins (R-GA), for the position...but there's just one problem.

Keep reading...
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images // C-SPAN

President Donald Trump held yet another campaign rally in Colorado, where he railed against one of the favorite targets for Republican lawmakers: Hollywood elites and the films they make.

Trump went on a bizarre rant lamenting this year's winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture: Parasite.

Keep reading...
CNN video/Win McNamee/Getty Images

Maine's Democratic primary is slated for March 3.

The vote will determine who faces off against incumbent Republican Susan Collins in November.

Keep reading...