|Ken Cuccinelli, Trump's Acting Immigration Chief, Demonstrates the Size of the Feet he is Planning to Place in His Mouth|
Trump's Acting Director of the US Immigration and Citizenship Services, Ken Cuccinelli, announced plans this week to deny green cards to legal immigrants who were considered "likely" to use government aid programs. He has now elaborated on this a few times using Emma Lazarus' famous poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty to, um, some kind of effect:
“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’ words etched on the Statue of Liberty, ‘give me your tired, your poor,’ are also part of the American ethos?” Martin asked, after noting that many immigrants throughout history have come to the U.S. “with nothing.”
“They certainly are,” Cuccinelli said. “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet, and who will not become a public charge.”"On their own two feet" sounds a little ableist to me, but leaving that aside, how do we know who is likely to be able to stand on their own two feet and not become a public charge? After all, it's very possible that a person might be leaving their country of origin because they were denied the kind of education and upward-mobility they believe they will find here.
Well, Cuccinelli has unpacked that one a bit for us, too:
Ken Cuccinelli, longtime focus of TPM reporting and now President Trump’s non-Senate-confirmed immigration chief, tells CNN that the poem on the Statute of Liberty is actually referring to “people coming from Europe” and “wretched” didn’t really mean “wretched” — just that they were commoners, not members of the nobility or gentry.
Hm. I don't believe that explains the word following wretched--"refuse", at all, but wow! Surprise, Cuccinelli is saying the US wants people from white countries. Or maybe not such a surprise.
A lot of us Americans have family histories of an ancestor who came off the boat with just the clothes on their back and five dollars in their pocket. Many of them barely spoke English, or did with an accent that made it really clear where they came from. This administration is saying folks just like my great-greats, have no business coming here. And even though my people all hailed from European countries, I take exception to that--if we aren't a country where people can start with nothing and make a good lives for themselves and their kids--what have we become?
Not as good as we should be. And we can and should be better.