Cuccinelli Edits Lazarus Poem To Justify 'Public Charge' Rule

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                                    A CHANGE I'D MAKE          NPR

Play video content A CHANGE I'D MAKE NPR

Schoolchildren nationwide are often taught Emma Lazarus's sonnet "The New Colossus", which reads, in part, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, speaks during a briefing at the White House on August 12 in Washington.

The acting immigration head also addressed Lazarus' poem during Monday's announcement, when he was asked if the words should be removed in the wake of the new rule.

As a result of the policy, "the benefit to taxpayers is a long-term benefit of seeking to ensure that our immigration system is bringing people to join us as American citizens, as legal permanent residents first, who can stand on their own two feet, who will not be reliant on the welfare system", he said.

Mr Cuccinelli said the words "certainly are" still part of the American ethos when challenged in an NPR interview but then went on to give a revised version of them.

But the new rules tighten the definition of who is or will become a "public charge" by imposing tighter guidelines.

"I'm certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty", Cuccinelli replied.

"It's clear the Trump Administration just wants to keep certain people out", the committee wrote, calling Mr Cuccinelli "a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government". "So let's not look at that as the be-all, end-all, and it's not the deciding factor".

The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services on Tuesday modified the poem on the Statue of Liberty to include being able to "stand on their own two feet" in defense of the Trump administration's new rules for green cards.

The public charge rule that Cuccinelli is referring to takes into account an immigrant's current or possible future reliance on the government when reviewing applications for permanent status. National Review notes that "the rule change will affect those migrants seeking to enter the US and those who entered the country illegally but wish to obtain legal status".

Cuccinelli was asked about Lazarus' poem on Monday and whether the new immigration changes would merit its removal from the statue's pedestal.

"I'm exhausted of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things".

Asked about Mr Cuccinelli's remarks on Tuesday, President Trump did not directly respond to the Statue of Liberty quote, but said: "I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States".

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