Trump’s hardline immigration czar says Statue of Liberty’s famous ‘give me your poor’ inscription is way too welcoming
August 13, 2019
Give me your well-rested, your wealthy, your trust-fund babies looking for a new six-figure gig on Wall Street or Silicon Valley.
That’s basically what the Statue of Liberty’s famed inscription would read if President Trump’s hardline immigration czar has his way.
Ken Cuccinelli, who just took over as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, made the shocking criticism of Lady Liberty’s poem an interview defending the administration’s crackdown on immigrants who use public benefits.
“Give me your tired and your poor — who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli suggested as a tweak to the verse in “The New Collosus,” the Emma Lazarus poem that has welcomed generations of newcomers to America.
The crackdown is based on a harsh new interpretation of a century-old law that bars immigrants who are likely to become a “public charge.”
Cuccinelli, who claims mixed Italian and Irish ancestry, claimed that the new regulations do not conflict with Lady Liberty’s ethos because the “public charge” law dates from the same historic era.
“That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed,” said Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who supports ending birthright citizenship and mandating English in the workplace. “Very interesting timing.”
Needless to say, that sentiment is at odds with the famous words of 1883 poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
“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,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Although less attention-grabbing than other Trump anti-immigration policies, the “public charge” rule could affect many more otherwise qualified immigrants. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect October 15, but are being challenged in court.
For now, even Cuccinelli admits that changing the actual inscription on the Statue of Liberty is not on the cards.
“I’m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty,” Cuccinelli said at a press conference on Monday.