New Jersey joins 12 other states in lawsuit against green card rule

The Statue of Liberty

Cuccinelli ignited a cable-news firestorm when he proposed modifying the famous poem on the Statue of Liberty so it reads: "Give me your exhausted and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge".

It means that America is the land of opportunity, a place where the exhausted and poor, the wretched refuse and homeless from other countries can come if they no longer want to be those things, if they are "yearning to be free", if they are desperate to reach their human potential, if they are driven to succeed and thrive and want stand on their own two feet.

"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?"

Announced on Monday, the administration's controversial rule relied on a legal concept known as "public charge" for the reasoning used to deny green cards to migrants who rely on public assistance.

The new rule indicates a pattern of Trump administration policies that disproportionately impact the health of immigrants and low-income citizens, according to researchers at the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality.

When Burnett pushed back and reminded him that the words "wretched", "poor" and "refuse" were also in the poem, Cuccinelli said that it was "referring back to people coming from Europe".

Ken Cuccinelli II, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it would allow the government to insist that immigrants who to the country be self-sufficient and not be a drain on society. As Trump told it, immigrants were stealing his supporters' jobs and driving down their wages, denying working class whites opportunities for success.

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Cuccinelli was asked about Lazarus' poem on Monday and whether the new immigration changes would merit its removal from the statue's pedestal. They don't apply to USA citizens, though immigrants related to the citizens may be subject to them.

We also can not avoid the fact that a mostly white Foreign Service - which is only 5.4 percent African American and 5.6 percent Hispanic - is being tasked with making such value judgments on a mostly brown and black immigrant population.

Mr Trump appeared to support Mr Cuccinelli's comments when asked to comment on them on Tuesday. Yet whites are the largest group of welfare recipients in the United States, while immigrants are far more entrepreneurial than native-born Americans.

Others are concerned the rule could negatively affect public health by discouraging immigrants from using health or food aid.

Which makes me think - if we're going to debate a poem from 1883, why not look at the immigration system that inspired it?

Cuccinelli has since made a number of media appearances defending the rule, which has been highly criticized for preferring wealthy immigrants for green card status. "They will not be replaced and I will fight for those values and for our immigrant communities". While a public charge law has been on the books for more than 100 years, the Trump administration's broad interpretation of it is unprecedented.

Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting by the Associated Press and Reuters.

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