We at KIAC are disappointed in and angered by the statement of Acting USCIS Director Cuccinelli to NPR that the Emma Lazarus poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty would more correctly read, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and not become a public charge.” Speaking later on CNN, Cuccinelli also stated that the poem referred only to “people coming from Europe.” This distortion of the American values enshrined in the Lazarus poem is deeply dismaying.
For centuries people from all over the world have come to America to build new lives. Immigrants have strengthened our country and enriched our society. This poem has been a clarion call, signaling our country’s welcome to those seeking hope and freedom. The acting director’s comment is just the latest in a long line of statements and policies put forward by this administration aimed at restricting immigration and punishing immigrants who are already here.
As a nation, we must be better than this. KIAC will continue to support and defend our immigrant sisters and brothers.