Trump Announces New Rule to Limit and Penalize Low-Income Immigrants

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 9 2019 as he prepares to leave Washington for his Bedminster golf club

On Monday, the Trump administration announced the new "public charge" rule requiring immigration officials to take into account whether an immigrant is "primarily dependent on the government for subsistence" when applying for a visa or an adjustment to permanent resident status.

Acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday made a tweak to Emma Lazarus' famous poem etched onto the Statue of Liberty while rationalizing the Trump administration's new "public charge" rule, which could restrict green cards to low-income legal immigrants who use public benefits.

On Tuesday, Mr Cuccinelli was asked by NPR whether the 1883 poem titled The New Colossus at the Statue of Liberty on New York's Ellis Island still applied.

The immigration rules have required immigrants to be self-sufficient or for their sponsors to meet certain income guidelines to show they support them so that they do not become "public charges".

Ken Cuccinelli tweaked the famous poem from Emma Lazarus - whose words, "Give me your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" are long associated with immigration to the United States and the nation's history as a haven - as part of a case for strict new measures pushed Monday by the Trump administration that could dramatically change the legal immigration system.

It's not the first time anti-immigration hardliners in President Donald Trump's administration have had to explain how Trump's harsh crackdowns on legal immigration reconcile with the Statue of Liberty's message.

On Monday, it made the regulation official, and it's set to go into effect October 15. It "doesn't seem like too much to ask" he said, that "self-sufficiency is central to the American value set".

Then he clarified. "It is a privilege to become an American, not a right for anybody who is not already an American citizen, that's what I was referring to".

The people coming in, he said, should "not be a burden on the taxpayers or the government".

Cuccinelli is a xenophobic, anti-immigrant fringe figure who has no business being in government.

Others pointed to his background as the attorney general of Virginia, in which he led a conservative campaign against immigration and homosexuality.

"They certainly are", Cuccinelli responded.

"I'm exhausted of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things".

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