Embossed on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” are the founding ideals of America, unless you’re a member of the Trump administration, as we learned yesterday.
In an interview with CNN, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration, responding to a question from Erin Burnett on “what America stands for,” argued: “That poem [on the Statue of Liberty] was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class based societies. Where people were considered ‘wretched,’ if they weren’t in the right class.” This followed a total rewrite of the poem, provided by Cuccinelli: “Give me your tired and your poor — who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” This just a day after the Trump administration published a new regulation that could shut the door to immigration for up to half of current immigrants based upon a wealth, health, education and age test.
Meanwhile, his colleague Matthew Albence, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, when questioned about the children left abandoned during immigration raids, blamed the hardworking, immigrant parents: “The parents or the individuals that are breaking the law are ultimately the ones that are responsible for placing their children in this situation.”
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of Americas Voice:
The Trump administration is rewriting history before our very eyes, taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty, and our founding ideals. Albence and Cuccinelli have proven to be two more Trump puppets with an audience of one and yesterday they made clear what we already know: this administration will stop at nothing to terrorize and demonize people of color, and to make America white again. The Trump administration already tried to slash legal immigration through Congress and failed, so now they are acting to put it in place via executive fiat.
But, we have a choice in 15 months: an America that is a welcoming refuge for those in need or a country hell-bent on terrorizing and demonizing people of color.