Trump’s acting Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Service, Ken Cuccinelli, appeared on television yesterday and tried to re-write the famous and oft-quoted poem by Emma Lazarus affixed to the Statue of Liberty. When asked by NPR’s Rachel Martin if he agreed with the poem, Cucch responded, “‘Give me your tired and your poor…who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” It was a ridiculous response on many counts. Generations of immigrants have arrived on America’s shores with barely a dollar in their pocket and have gone on to make their fortunes. Many of them were helped along by soup kitchens and fraternal organizations and, yes, the government. And many were able to stand on their own two feet only when they were granted land through the homestead act. If the need for public assistance disqualifies immigrants from a shot at the American dream, why not send all of the millions of (mostly white) Americans who receive government assistance back to the lands of their ancestors, as well? It was an absurd comment.
But Cucch wasn’t finished. He later appeared on CNN with Erin Burnett and made things worse for himself by trying to explain his earlier statement, saying that the poem “was of course referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class…”. This was not only historically false (there were many nations in Europe divided along ethnic and religious lines, and many nations where poverty defined your social class), but it was also a dog-whistle to Trump’s base implying that European immigrants were more deserving, more desirable and less wretched than non-white immigrants. It was a grotesque but unsurprising position from a member of Trump’s wretched cabinet–an acting Director never confirmed by Congress, no less!
Cucch’s ridiculous and racist episode was a sideshow to the main story of Trump’s proposed change to immigration policy that would only allow immigrants of means to come to the United States legally–which Rachel Maddow pointed out two nights ago was a fundamental shift in who we are as a nation and how we see ourselves, going squarely against 200+ plus years of tradition and principle. The proposed change will face strong legal challenges, in part because it was ill conceived and didn’t follow established process, but with the Supreme Court now in the hands of radical partisan hacks, it’s hard to predict where these legal challenges could end up.
Once again, if we don’t vote Trump out of office in 2020 the damage could be lasting.
On the local front, it was reported in the Daily Freeman yesterday that Congressman Antonio Delgado has a prospective Republican challenger for 2020. Retired National Guard General Anthony German plans on filing paperwork today to enter the race.
The article says that German “believes Delgado has gravitated to the ‘extreme left’ of Congress”, which flies in the face of reality. In fact, most of the criticism leveled at Delgado by Democratic voters contends that he is not far enough to the left. For example, he hasn’t come out in support of impeachment and he isn’t for single-payer or Medicare for all. So let’s hope the GOP is planning to play the “extreme left” card in NY-19 because it will be an easy strategy to oppose and tear apart.
Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”