Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem to defend migrant rule change

Modesto Morganelli
Августа 13, 2019

The famous words on the pedestal of the State of Liberty, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", were written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.

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

During an NPR interview, host Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli if he agreed that the words written on the statue, particularly "give me your exhausted, your poor", are part of the American ethos.

As the audio from Cuccinelli's Tuesday morning interview hit social media channels, outrage and condemnation immediately followed.

"They certainly are: 'Give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge, '" he replied.

He insisted that the poem plaque was placed on the Statue of Liberty at nearly the same time as the first public charge law.

In the interview, he added that immigrants are welcome "who can stand on their own two feet, be self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, again, as in the American tradition".

Trump's "public charge" rule is set to go into effect in October.

His appearance on NPR came a day after Cuccunelli announced the administration was proposing new immigration rules that would require prospective green card applicants to show evidence that they would not likely require government assistance at any point in the future if they were granted foreign worker or permanent residency status.

According to the regulations, foreign citizens who apply to immigrate to the USA will be considered "public burden" if they failed to meet the prescribed income standards or receive public benefits for more than one year in any three years in the country.

US President Donald Trump has said that he wants to introduce a merit-based immigration system that would favour those who are well-educated or have special skills.

Who will be affected by the new rule?

The new requirements will not apply to refugees, those seeking asylum, children given special immigrant status, and victims trafficking, criminal activity and domestic violence, according to the notification. This latest move is part of his government's efforts to curb legal immigration.

Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.

"President Trump's administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful in America", Cuccinelli said during a Monday press briefing at the White House.

"So I think we're doing it right".

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