As the controversy over the Trump administration’s new stringent rules for admission to the U.S. heated up, a top Trump immigration official offered a change to the iconic poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty.
The poem is Emma Lazarus’s sonnet “The New Colossus,” which reads, in part, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” But, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli quite seriously suggested an edit to the poem: “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli said at a press conference.
Cuccinelli said that the words of Lazarus’s sonnet referred to people coming from Europe, attempting to avoid the brown-skinned U.S. immigration hated by his boss Trump. But a reporter noted that, when the poem was put on the base of the statue, there were many Chinese and Mexican immigrants to the U.S., as the railroads were being built, and mining and agriculture began to flourish.
At this point, Mr. Cuccinelli seemed to lose his temper, said he was tired of the controversy, and suggested that the whole Statue of Liberty be sent back to France from where it originated.
But Kevin McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of Fatherland Security, took center stage, and said the proposal was too extreme, and suggested a compromise that the torch held by Lady Liberty be extinguished. At this point, a reporter said to the Fatherland Secretary, “It’s too late, Mr. McAleenan, the torch of liberty stopped burning when Trump was inaugurated.”