Cuccinelli Says Statue Of Liberty Poem Was About Europeans

Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2019, in Washington, DC. - The administration of US President Donald Trump announce... Acting Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli speaks during a briefing at the White House August 12, 2019, in Washington, DC. - The administration of US President Donald Trump announced Monday new rules that aim to deny permanent residency and citizenship benefits to migrants who receive food stamps, Medicaid and other public welfare.Announcing a new definition of the longstanding "public charge" law, the White House said migrants will be blocked from entering the country if they are likely to need public assistance, and those already here will not be able to obtain green cards or US citizenship. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services dug himself into another hole on Tuesday evening.

After appearing to rewrite the famous Emma Lazarus poem emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty — “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet. And who will not become a public charge,” he told NPR earlier this week — Ken Cuccinelli told CNN that the poem was actually meant for Europeans.

“That poem 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,” he said, expounding on the history of the “public charge” rule that the Trump administration wants to reinvigorate.

The move could curb legal immigration by restricting green cards for would-be immigrants who might use public funds, like welfare.

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