The Trump administration is hard at work pushing anti-immigrant sentiment.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, took aim at the Statue of Liberty following the Trump administration's rollout Monday of its new "public charge" rules that would penalize immigrants in need of public benefits.
"Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus' words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'give me your tired, your poor' are also part of the American ethos?" asked NPR host Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli on Tuesday.
"They certainly are," Cuccinelli replied. "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."
“Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet."
Immigration Services head Ken Cuccinelli to @rachelnpr today.
A new rule would make it hard for immigrants who use public benefits to stay in US: https://t.co/Y08iLtCD69
— Eric McDaniel (@ericmcdanieldc) August 13, 2019
The actual poem of course says, "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!"
Cuccinelli is the second official in the Trump administration to take issue with the words on the Statue of Liberty. Stephen Miller, senior White House adviser and the architect of most of Trump's anti-immigrant policies, took aim at the icon in 2017.
Miller was promoting Republican legislation restricting immigration and was asked to reconcile that with the Statue of Liberty, just as Cuccinelli was.
"The poem that you're referring to that was added later is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty," Miller said, acting as if the sentiment on the poem has not been intertwined with the statue for over 100 years.
Miller went on to deride the reporter's question, and said he was unfairly being asked to respect the Statue of Liberty poem as "the law of the land."
The caustic attitude toward the statue and its welcoming poem reflect the fact that Trump's anti-immigrant sentiments trickle down to his officials in his administration.
Trump refers to immigrants as "animals" and an "invasion," while putting together policies that rip families apart, house them in warehouses, and stop them from seeking refuge from violence and upheaval.
Cuccinelli and Miller, acting as agents of Trump, have put themselves in complete opposition to the Statue of Liberty and what it stands for: America.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.