Cuccinelli rewrites Statue of Liberty poem to make case for limiting immigration

Henrietta Strickland
August 13, 2019

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Tuesday that the poem etched on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to America should include a line qualifying that they be able to "stand on their own two feet".

Much of President Donald Trump's effort to crack down on illegal immigration has been in the spotlight, but this rule change targets people who entered the United States legally and are seeking permanent status.

The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said the rule change fits with the Republican president's message.

Cuccinelli's remarks were perhaps made in jest but nonetheless point to the administration's stated intention to reduce legal immigration.

Active U.S. military members are also exempt, as are refugees and asylum seekers.

The National Immigration Law Center tweeted that the rule is "a race motivated wealth test" and said, "We WILL fight back".

A new Pew Research Center survey released Monday found the American public is broadly critical of the administration's handling of the wave of migrants at the southern border, with almost two-thirds of Americans - 65% - saying the federal government is doing a very bad or somewhat bad job.

"In this Administration, that is likely to mean more denials based on public charge concerns", Yale-Loehr says.

Legit.ng earlier reported that President Donald Trump recently told four congresswomen of colour to go back to where they came from and fix the rot there instead of telling the people of USA how their government should be run. "So let's not look at that as the be-all, end-all, and it's not the deciding factor". They don't apply to US citizens, even if the USA citizen is related to an immigrant who is subject to them.

Immigrants make up a small percentage of those who get public benefits.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Cuccinelli offered a change: "Give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

"We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient", Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli said the comments resulted in changes that "we think it made a better, stronger rule". "The Trump Administration deserves credit for protecting American taxpayers' interests first and foremost with these rules, which are entirely consistent with a more merit-based, economy-driven USA immigration system", said Ken Oliver, an immigration expert at Texas Public Policy Foundation, in a statement. "The basic idea is we shouldn't be letting people move here that can't pay their own bills".

On average, 544,000 people apply annually for green cards, with about 382,000 falling into categories that would be subject to this review, according to the government.

Critics have denounced the rule as a sweeping attempt to stem immigration and favor wealthy migrants. "The Trump Administration can't blow its nose without the resistance judiciary saying he's not allowed to do it", says Krikorian.

Immigrant rights groups strongly criticized the changes, warning the rules would scare immigrants away from asking for needed help.

Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, called the rule "vile" in a tweet and said it is an "attack on families and lower income communities of color", and threatened "to take legal action to protect the rights of all Californians".

"If they don't have future prospects of being legal permanent residents without welfare, that will be counted against them", Cuccinelli said. "If we'd been having this conversation 100 years ago, it would have applied to more Italians".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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