Pushing for immigration limits, Trump official spoofs Emma Lazarus poem

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Top immigration official says public charge rule will not target

But there's some confusion over what this new rule will do and how drastic it is. Not everyone who wishes to come to the United States is aware of all of their options because of the complexity of immigration law, not everyone speaks English or can read or write proficiently and certainly should not have to, and the immigration laws of the US are not readily available or easily understood by all who wish to navigate its bureaucratic waters.

Over a dozen states are suing the Trump administration over its new "public charge" rule.

Based on the Immigration and Nationality Act, the notion of a public charge - which originally referred to a person who is dependent on the government for subsistence - is arguably the oldest aspect of USA immigration law today. The demonstration was held to protest the Trump administration's campaign to end temporary protected status, or TPS, for tens of thousands of immigrants nationwide.

Fox News declined to comment.

MoveOn and United We Dream, however, noted that Cuccinelli cropped a sign afixed to the statue that read "Immigrants Welcome" out of his selfie. But his claim that "this is not a new thing that the president is trying to implement" leaves out some important details.

According to Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson the rule violates the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The factors related to who can or cannot become a naturalized USA citizen are complex and constantly revised even though some are still quite antiquated by today's standards: health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, education, and skills are generally the main factors. "That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at nearly the same time as the first public charge was passed - very interesting timing". In fact, back then it wasn't even run by the federal government.

Since the Immigration Act of 1882, anyone trying to immigrate to the US can be denied entry if it is felt that they have the potential of becoming a public charge.

The immigration services now say a "public charge" is a person who receives "public cash assistance" or "long-term care at government expense". But the term "public charge" was never clearly defined.


The 13 states said in their lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, that the new rule "effects a radical overhaul of federal immigration law transforming a system that promotes economic mobility among immigrants into one that advantages immigrants with wealth".

The new DHS rule, however, seeks to expand the definition to include immigrants who have received any government benefits, such as food stamps and public housing, for a period of more than 12 months. A boost in legal immigration is the most obvious way to offset slowing population growth in the United States. Those rules would exempt active-duty military members, refugees or asylum seekers.

Immigration activists across the country have expressed outrage following the Trump administration's announcement Monday that it is moving forward with one of most aggressive steps yet: To restrict legal immigration.

Kevin Johnson, dean of UC Davis School of Law, noted that the enforcement of immigration laws has already changed drastically under Trump.

Books such as Hidetaka Hirota's "Expelling the Poor" and Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts" describe in sad detail how State Department consular officers at US embassies and consulates overseas used public-charge provisions to keep out "undesirables" from non-Western European countries.

NPR host Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli, "Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus" words etched on the Statue of Liberty, "give me your exhausted, your poor, ' are also part of the American ethos?"

Public charge as a standard of inadmissibility has been a staple of immigration law since 1882. The sculpture itself, which sits in the New York Harbor and was visible on the path to the immigration checkpoint at Ellis Island, was a gift from France to the US.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details.

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