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

13 August, 2019, 20:13 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Trump's Director of Immigration Suggests Changing Statue of Liberty Slogan

President Trump's top immigration official suggested a footnote to the iconic poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty, in line with the administration's policy of favoring immigrants with the skills and means to support themselves. The change stands to impact hundreds of thousands of immigrants who come to the United States legally every year.

The new rule will go into effect October 15, and only government aid used after that point will be assessed, Cuccinelli said.

The immigration rules have required immigrants to be self-sufficient or for their sponsors to meet certain income guidelines to show they support them so that they do not become "public charges".

On Tuesday, Cuccinelli described the public charge as a "burden on the government".

He said the likelihood of a green card applicant receiving benefits will be weighed along with other factors like the person's age, financial resources, health and ability to communicate in English.

The head of Citizenship and Immigration Services tweaked the passage: "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free". It "doesn't seem like too much to ask" he said, that "self-sufficiency is central to the American value set".

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Cuccinelli made the comments while defending the Trump administration's announcement Monday that the government would consider an immigrant's use of social safety net programs, like Medicaid or food stamps, when deciding their permanent legal status.

Then he clarified. "It is a privilege to become an American, not a right for anybody who is not already an American citizen, that's what I was referring to".

NPR host Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli, "Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus" words etched on the Statue of Liberty, "give me your exhausted, your poor, ' are also part of the American ethos?" Critics argue that it will prevent low-income USA residents from seeking help.

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.

Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the U.S. are unlikely to be affected by the rule change. Public health and social service providers report that immigrants are anxious about seeking medical and housing aid for themselves and their children, who may be US citizens.

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

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