In an interview with NPR on Tuesday morning, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was questioned about the administration's plan to curb legal immigration by denying green cards and citizenship to immigrants who use public benefits like food stamps or housing assistance.
He said the welcoming words from the 1903 plaque at the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your exhausted, your poor", were put there "at nearly the same time" as when the first public charge law was passed - in 1882.
On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York's Ellis Island still applied.
The official added the words "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 nearly the same time as the first public charge [law] was passed - very interesting timing", he added.More news: Ebola cure? Scientists discover two highly effective drugs
This came one day after the Trump administration released a new "public charge" policy, which will restrict green card applicants likely to take advantage of government welfare.
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". It's called the "public charge" rule.
But the new rules will affect those Indians who are not well-off and maybe using public benefits or appear likely to require them.
The new requirements will not apply to refugees, those seeking asylum, children given special immigrant status, and victims trafficking, criminal activity and domestic violence, according to the notification.
After implementation, it may not only reduce the number of legal immigrants in the USA, but also make it easier for low-income immigrants in the country to apply for benefits even if they need them, thus increasing their health, education, etc.More news: US delays tariffs on some Chinese goods, drops others
US President Donald Trump has said that he wants to introduce a merit-based immigration system that would favour those who are well-educated or have special skills.
Cuccinelli is a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government.
- House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) August 13, 2019 This is absurd, historically inaccurate, ableist, and shockingly devoid of humanity and compassion.
The people coming in, he said, should "not be a burden on the taxpayers or the government".
Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.More news: Knife-wielding man goes on stabbing rampage in Sydney; body found
"So I think we're doing it right".
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