“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Those are the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
But this week, acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli attempted to rewrite the poem to make a case for limiting immigration to the United States.
He told NPR’s Rachel Martin on Tuesday that the Statue of Liberty’s message is “Give me your tired and your poor, who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”
Facing outrage, Cuccinelli then doubled down on his comments, telling CNN that the words on the Statue of Liberty are about “people coming from Europe.”
Democracy Now! speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario about the comments and recent moves by the Trump administration to thwart immigration and target immigrants already in the U.S.
Nazario says, “It’s a wholesale attempt to change who’s allowed into this country: Give us your rich; don’t give us your poor. And, of course, this is contrary to the entire tradition of immigration to the United States.”
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