Charge 'em out: Trump administration looks to make immigrant life harder

Trump immigration official offers revised version of 'give me your poor' Statue of Liberty inscription

When Emma Lazarus wrote her famous poem that's inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, she was talking about an America that is "welcoming and inclusive", says a leading historian on the poet.

On Tuesday, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli suggested in an NPR interview that the poem should be changed to "give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

Ken Cuccinelli suggested Tuesday in an interview with NPR that the line should be changed to "give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

"They certainly are-give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge", Cuccinelli replied, despite the fact that that is definitely not how the poem goes.

He is now facing scrutiny for rolling out a new "public charge" rule that would deny green cards for visa holders using or expected to use public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.

Mr Cuccinelli is one of a slew of immigration hardliners brought in by Mr Trump to implement the President's policies.

Acosta referenced the poem and asked if Miller and Trump were "trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country".

He said: "They certainly are".

A newly naturalized citizen holds an American flag during a naturalization ceremony at the Atlanta office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in August 2016.

President Donald Trump has made curbing legal and illegal immigration a cornerstone of his presidency, and presented the rule as an effort to prevent people from becoming "public charges" dependent on government support. Not everyone who wishes to come to the United States is aware of all of their options because of the complexity of immigration law, not everyone speaks English or can read or write proficiently and certainly should not have to, and the immigration laws of the US are not readily available or easily understood by all who wish to navigate its bureaucratic waters. It's shameful, and the way the Administration is going about it is unlawful.

Since January 2018, the U.S. State Department has already given diplomats the ability to deny visas on public charge grounds.

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".

Statue of Liberty stands in NY harbor.

Lazarus's poem, written in 1883 to raise money to construct the Statue of Liberty's pedestal and cast in bronze beneath the monument in 1903, served as a beacon to millions of immigrants who passed the statue by boat in NY harbour.

According to CNN, however, Cuccinelli said that the historic plaque would remain on the Statue of Liberty in its original wording.

"This will result in millions of kids losing access to healthcare, housing and nutrition", said Kristen Torres, director of child welfare and immigration for First Focus on Children, a bipartisan group that advocates for pro-child policies before the federal government. A boost in legal immigration is the most obvious way to offset slowing population growth in the United States.

"The Trump Administration's anti-immigrant agenda continues today with the announcement of proposed changes to the public charge rule", Ferguson said.

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