Trump official revises Statue of Liberty poem to defend migrant rule change

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 9 2019 as he prepares to leave Washington for his Bedminster golf club

U.S. gov’t introduces new rules restricting legal immigration

The Trump administration's new "public charge" rule will make it more hard for low-income immigrants to secure permanent residency or temporary visas if they are deemed likely to rely on welfare benefits, such as food stamps or subsidized housing.

The new rule will go into effect October 15, and only government aid used after that point will be assessed, Cuccinelli said.

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli is under fresh fire on Tuesday after telling NPR in an interview that the famous words engraved on the U.S. Statue of Liberty-based on the poem by Emma Lazarus-should be re-cast with a qualifier when it comes to the kinds of people arriving at the nation's shores seeking refuge or welcome.

"Is that sentiment, give us your exhausted, your poor, still operative in the United States or should the words come down on the statue?" a reporter asked.

The change broadens the scope of the "public charge" rule that in 1996 had been limited to only cash-assistance programs to now include non-cash government assistance programs.

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Director of Citizen and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli suggested a little tweak to the famous Emma Lazarus "give me your exhausted, your poor" poem on NPR Morning Edition Tuesday. "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'" It was mounted in the lower level of Lady Liberty's pedestal in 1903.

The acting immigration head also addressed Lazarus' poem during Monday's announcement, when he was asked if the words should be removed in the wake of the new rule.

He insisted that the poem plaque was placed on the Statue of Liberty at nearly the same time as the first public charge law.

Asked if that changes the definition of the American Dream, Cuccinelli said, "No one has a right to become an American who isn't born here as an American".

Later on Tuesday, Trump weighed in on Cuccinelli's additions to the poem.

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"I'm certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty", Cuccinelli replied.

"If they don't have future prospects of being legal permanent residents without welfare, that will be counted against them", Cuccinelli said.

The Trump administration has taken the toughest stance against legal and illegal immigration of any presidency in modern times.

He went on: "Secondly, I don't want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world".

"The poem that you're referring to was added later (and) is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty", Miller responded.

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