Trump’s top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli says the Statue of Liberty poem refers to ‘people coming from Europe’

Ken Cuccinelli

Acting US Immigration and Citizenship Services Director Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday said the iconic poem on the Statue of Liberty refers to “people coming from Europe.”
The poem, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, was written in 1883 as a tribute to refugees and immigrants. There is no evidence that Lazarus only wrote this about European immigrants.
“This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,” former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke tweeted in reference to Cuccinelli’s comments.
There’s no evidence the poem was written exclusively in reference to European immigrants, though many people migrated to the US from western and northern Europe at the time.

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Acting US Immigration and Citizenship Services Director Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday said the iconic poem on the Statue of Liberty refers to “people coming from Europe,” a controversial and baseless claim that comes as he’s defended himself by trying to reword the poem to support the Trump administration’s tough immigration policy.

In an interview with CNN, Cuccinelli was asked what he thinks America stands for during a conversation on the poem and his reimagining of it.

“Of course 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,” Cuccinelli said.

Cuccinelli: That statue of liberty poem was about “people coming from Europe.” pic.twitter.com/nrDcUGJsU3

— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 13, 2019

Cuccinelli has since faced accusations from Democrats of promoting ethnonationalism and racism.

“This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,” former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke tweeted in reference to Cuccinelli’s comments.

Similarly, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz in a tweet reacting to Cuccinelli, said, “Looks like they had a meeting and decided to make racism the main theme of the re-elect.”

The poem at the center of all of this, “The New Colossus,” was written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. She was asked to write the poem to help raise money for the statue’s pedestal.

Lazarus, a New Yorker of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish descent, worked as an aide to refugees on Ward’s Island when she wasn’t writing poetry. The words of the poem were inspired by her work with refugees and a testament to waves of immigrants coming to the US.

There’s no evidence the poem was written exclusively in reference to European immigrants, though many people migrated to the US from western and northern Europe at the time — rising anti-immigrant sentiment at the time yielded a law that prevented Chinese nationals from becoming US citizens.

Lazarus, inspired by her own Sephardic Jewish heritage, her experiences working with refugees on Ward’s Island, and the plight of the immigrant, wrote ‘The New Colossus’ on November 2, 1883,” according to the National Park Service.

The Statue of Liberty — a gift from France — was …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Politics

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