Statue of Liberty poem at heart of heated exchange between Trump aide Stephen Miller and CNN reporter

18:01 EDT 2 Aug 2017 | Yahoo News

Statue of Liberty poem at heart of heated exchange between Trump aide Stephen Miller and CNN reporterA poem at the Statue of Liberty that is a national symbol for the country's embrace of immigrants was at the centre of a heated exchange at a White House news conference to promote President Donald Trump's push for immigration reform. Senior White House aide Stephen Miller clashed on Wednesday with CNN reporter Jim Acosta, who asked if the Trump administration's new merit-based green card proposal was keeping with US tradition. The reporter read a line of “The New Colossus,” the sonnet by Emma Lazarus sonnet, that is etched into the base of the statue: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." Trump advisor Stephen Miller and CNN's Jim Acosta just got in an argument about the poem on the Statue of Liberty— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 2, 2017 "The poem you were referring to was added later," Mr Miller said. "It's not actually part of the originally Statue of Liberty." Mr Miller said the statue was a "symbol of American liberty lighting the world" and suggested it had little to do with immigrants. American poet Emma Lazarus Credit: AP The legislation unveiled earlier Wednesday by the presidentwould dramatically overhaul the US immigration system. It would reduce legal immigration to the US and evaluate visa applications based on merit. During a heated exchange, Mr Miller called Acosta’s suggestion that the bill would regulate the racial and ethnic makeup of immigrants “outrageous, ignorant, insulting and foolish.” “The notion that you think this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting,” Mr Miller said. Acosta, who was the target of Mr Trump's ire when he blasted CNN as "fake news" at a press conference in January, didn’t call the legislation racist. The New Colossus poem Trying to place Mr Trump's latest plan in a broader context, Acosta raised Mr Trump's promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico. “You want to bring about a sweeping change to the immigration system,” he said. Mr Miller accused him of conflating separate topics. “Surely, Jim, you don't actually think that a wall affects green-card policy,” Mr Miller said. “You couldn't possibly believe that, do you? … Do you really at CNN not know the difference between green-card policy and illegal immigration? I mean, you really don't know that?” People look at the Statue of Liberty from a ferry boat in Jersey City Credit: AP Referring to the president's plan to award points to green-card applicants based on the ability to speak English, Acosta asked: “Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” “I am shocked at your statement, that you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English,” Mr Miller said. “It's actually - it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree. … This is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would know English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world. Cosmopolitan bias? @Acosta grew up in Annandale, Virginia. Stephen Miller grew up in L.A.— DEREK DELGAUDIO (@derek_del) August 2, 2017 A Trump spokesman attack a reporter son of Cuban immigrants as a "cosmopolitan" while dismissing the ideals of the Statue of Liberty; /2— Dan Murphy (@bungdan) August 2, 2017 "Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English, outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?” But it was Mr Miller's comments on the State of Liberty that drew the biggest reaction on social media, prompting ridicule and angry responses from immigrant rights advocates. Nevertheless she persisted.— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) August 2, 2017 The Statue of Liberty was imported. The poem was made in America.— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) August 2, 2017 About time someone like Stephen Miller had the political genius to take on the very overrated Statue of Liberty, who everybody hates— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) August 2, 2017 The poem was sold to finance construction of the the statue of liberty, meaning the country literally bought into it's meaning to erect it— �������������� (@JohnLGC) August 2, 2017 The Statue of Liberty was given to us by French abolitionists to mark the end of slavery. The Lazarus poem was the meaning we assigned her.— Karrie Jacobs (@KarrieUrbanist) August 2, 2017 The National Park Service says Lazarus' sonnet depicts the statue "as the 'Mother of Exiles:' a symbol of immigration and opportunity - symbols associated with the Statue of Liberty today." The statue was a gift from France commemorating its alliance with the United States during the American Revolution. Edouard de Laboulaye, a French political thinker and abolitionist, proposed the idea of the statue and made sure broken shackle and chain were at the right foot of the statue. Writers and authors later asked Emma Lazarus, a poet and descendant of Jewish immigrants, to write a sonnet to be sold at an auction to raise money for a pedestal to hold the Statue of Liberty. The bronze plaque of the poem by Poet Emma Lazurus on Statue of Liberty in New York Credit: AP She wrote "The New Colossus" on November 2, 1883, inspired by the plight of immigrants and refugees and her own experiences. She died four years later and the poem eventually faded from public memory. In 1901, a Lazarus friend, Georgina Schuyler, found a book containing the poem and started an effort to resurrect the work. Her words were eventually inscribed on a plaque and placed on the statue's pedestal. Statue of Liberty facts  

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