Following condemnation of the new Trump administration rule limiting permanent status for low-income immigrants, acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli attempted to defend the new policy by rewriting the iconic Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty. This is Cuccinelli speaking to NPR’s Rachel Martin.
Rachel Martin: “Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'Give me your tired, your poor,' are also part of the American ethos?”
Ken Cuccinelli: “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. That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge law was passed. Very interesting timing.”
On Tuesday night, Cuccinelli defended his comments in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, suggesting Emma Lazarus’s poem was written about “people coming from Europe.”