Cuccinelli rewrites Statue of Liberty poem to make case for limiting immigration

US introduces new rules restricting legal immigration

A top United States immigration official has revised a quote inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in defence of a new policy that denies food aid to legal migrants.

The famous words on the pedestal of the State of Liberty, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", were written by Emma Lazarus in 1883.

It comes as Trump officials debuted a regulation that denies aid to migrants.

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.

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

The rule change is meant to reinforce "ideals of self-sufficiency", officials said.

A large proportion of immigrants from India are professional or relatives of professionals and the community as a whole is the highest-earning group with a median annual household income of over $110,000, according to the USA census bureau.

What did the official say?

NPR's Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli.

Cuccinelli was asked whether the words from Emma Lazarus's poem "The New Colossus" continue to be "part of the American ethos".

Kenneth Cuccinelli, the acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, countered that the changes would ensure that people who came to the US were not a drain on tax-payers and were self-sufficient.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Tuesday that the poem etched on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to America should include a line qualifying that they be able to "stand on their own two feet".

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"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.

"When it comes to immigration, the Statue of Liberty says, 'Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, '" Acosta said. "Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" It "doesn't seem like too much to ask" he said, that "self-sufficiency is central to the American value set".

"It is a privilege to become an American, not a right, for anybody who is not already an American citizen", he said on the show.

Immigrants who are already permanent residents in the USA are unlikely to be affected by the rule change.

But applicants for visa extensions, green cards or U.S. citizenship will be subject to the change. In addition, immigrants who have lower incomes or less formal education could be denied permanent status if deemed more likely to need public assistance in the future.

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. This latest move is part of his government's efforts to curb legal immigration.

- House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) August 13, 2019 This is absurd, historically inaccurate, ableist, and shockingly devoid of humanity and compassion.

Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general, has long held a hard-line stance against immigration and asylum policies.

Cuccinelli said: "For over a century, the public charge ground of inadmissibility has been part of our nation's immigration laws".

On Tuesday, Cuccinelli described the public charge as a "burden on the government".

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