Trump official: Statue of Liberty poem refers to Europeans

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Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli 

WASHINGTON - The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services says the inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants into the country is about "people coming from Europe."

Ken Cuccinelli said Tuesday on CNN that the poem referred to Europeans coming from "class-based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class."

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His comment came a day after the Trump administration announced it would seek to deny green cards to migrants who use public assistance.

Cuccinelli was asked earlier Tuesday on NPR whether the words "give me your tired, your poor" were part of the American ethos. Cuccinelli responded: "They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

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2004: The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty reopens after being closed since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.

From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp," cries she
With silent lips.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

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