Federal immigration head Cuccinelli botches iconic Statue of Liberty quote

Andrew Weber
August 13, 2019 - 1:51 pm
Statue of LIberty

Getty: GBlakeley


NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” reads the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazerus famously attached to the Statue of Liberty.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director, however, on NPR Tuesday morning, endorsed a different version of Lazerus’ famous lines, saying, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Cuccinelli was defending a new rule announced by President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday which would make it harder for legal immigrants with low incomes to stay in the country.

The rule would force those attempting to change their immigration status or become legal immigrants to show that they will not likely ever need public assistance.

NPR’s Rachel Martin posited that the new rule challenged the definition of the American dream.

Cuccinelli disagreed, saying "We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege. Not everyone has the right to be an American."

He added, “all immigrants who can stand on their own two feet" and "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" are welcome.

Cuccinelli, who had previously served as Virginia attorney general, has long held hard-line stances on immigration and asylum policies.

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