WASHINGTON (AP) — A high Trump administration official says that the well-known inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants into the nation is about “people coming from Europe” and that America is seeking to obtain migrants “who can stand on their own two feet.”
The feedback on Tuesday from Ken Cuccinelli, the performing director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, got here a day after the Trump administration introduced it could search to disclaim inexperienced playing cards to migrants who search Medicaid, meals stamps, housing vouchers or different types of public help. The transfer, and Cuccinelli’s protection, prompted an outcry from Democrats and immigration advocates who mentioned the coverage would favor wealthier immigrants and drawback these from poorer nations in Latin America and Africa.
“This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,” tweeted former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic presidential candidate.
The administration’s proposed coverage shift comes as President Donald Trump is leaning extra closely into the restrictive immigration insurance policies which have energized his core supporters and had been central to his 2016 victory. He has additionally spoken disparagingly about immigration from majority black and Hispanic nations, together with calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals when he launched his 2016 marketing campaign. Last yr, he privately branded Central American and African nations as “shithole” nations and he advised the U.S. soak up extra immigrants from European nations like predominantly white Norway.
Cuccinelli mentioned in an interview with CNN on Tuesday night time that the Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty referred to “people coming from Europe where they had class based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.”
Lazarus’ poem, written in 1883 to lift cash to assemble the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and forged in bronze beneath the monument in 1903, served as a beacon to tens of millions of immigrants who crossed previous as they first entered the U.S. in New York Harbor. It reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
Cuccinelli was requested earlier Tuesday on NPR whether or not the phrases “give me your tired, your poor” had been a part of the American ethos. Cuccinelli responded: “They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”
A tough-line conservative from Virginia, Cuccinelli was a failed Republican candidate for governor in 2013 after serving because the state’s legal professional normal. He backed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for president in 2016 and for a time was a harsh critic of Trump.
He is considered one of a slew of immigration hardliners introduced in by Trump to implement the president’s insurance policies. He was appointed to the submit in June in a short lived capability, which doesn’t require Senate affirmation.
Trump, requested Tuesday about Cuccinelli’s feedback on NPR, appeared to again him up.
“I don’t think it’s fair to have the American taxpayer paying for people to come into the United States,” Trump informed reporters earlier than boarding Air Force One for Pennsylvania. “I think we’re doing it right.”
Immigrant rights teams strongly criticized the Trump administration’s new guidelines for immigrants receiving public help, warning that the adjustments would scare immigrants away from asking for wanted assist. And they voiced concern that officers had been being given an excessive amount of authority to determine whether or not somebody is prone to want public help sooner or later.
Another Democratic presidential candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, additionally condemned Cuccinelli’s feedback.
“Our values are etched in stone on the Statue of Liberty. They will not be replaced,” she tweeted. “And I will fight for those values and for our immigrant communities.”