Steve Bullock, Montana governor and 2020 presidential candidate, on Sunday compared Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services, to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said allowing the former Virginia attorney general to head Trump’s immigration policy would be as bad a move as putting Putin in charge of the country’s elections following evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.
‘I even served with Ken Cuccinelli when he was Attorney General. Like putting him in charge of immigration would be like putting Putin in charge of election security,’ Bullock told Fox New Sunday.
On Tuesday, Cuccinelli made a controversial statement when he amended the famous poem written on the Statue of Liberty when defending the administration’s crack down on keeping immigrants on food stamps from obtaining green cards.
Steve Bullock warned putting Ken Cuccinelli in charge of immigration policy is just as bad a move as putting Russian President Vladimir Putin in charge of election security
‘I even served with Ken Cuccinelli when he was Attorney General. Like putting him in charge of immigration would be like putting Putin in charge of election security,’ Bullock said Sunday
When asked if the words ‘give me your tired, your poor’ still applied to those looking for a better life in America, Cuccinelli said ‘certainly,’ but amended the words.
‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,’ Cuccinelli told NPR of Emma Lazarus’ poem, written on a plaque on the base of Lady Liberty.
The Trump administration announced a new ‘public charge’ rule on Monday that would allow the government to bar entry into the country to any individual it feels would likely end up relying on Medicaid, food stamps or other public benefits.
The rule, announced through the Department of Homeland Security, would also allow the government to deport immigrants and deny visa renewals for those utilizing these benefits.
There has been widespread backlash from immigration advocacy groups following the announcement and some states, like California, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Maines, are even suing the administration to try and block the rule.
Cuccinelli, the acting Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services amended the words on the Statue of Liberty to say: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,’ when defending a new administration rule on immigration
Emma Lazarus’s sonnet ‘The New Colossus’ rests inside the base of the Statue of Liberty and reads, in one portion, ‘Give me your tired, your poor’
The Trump administration announced a new rule Monday deeming the U.S. can deny migrants entry if it feels they would likely end up relying on Medicaid, food stamps or other public benefits
‘What I disagree with is, we’re using immigration to essentially divide this country,’ Bullock, a long shot candidate who earns an average of 0.5 per cent support, said.
The candidate did not explicitly say that he disagreed with the reasoning that led to the ‘public charge’ rule.
‘The idea, I think, behind it is to turn around and say that everyone that comes to this country with documentation wants to make sure that they can succeed and live that American dream,’ Bullock said Sunday morning.
Cuccinelli argued it;s a ‘privilege’ for migrants to be granted American citizenship and that ‘privilege’ entails financial independence.
‘We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege. No one has a right to become an American who isn’t born here as an American,’ he said in his interview with NPR this week.
‘It is a privilege to become an American – not a right for anybody who is not already an American citizen,’ he added.
White House adviser Stephen Miller, who oversees immigration policy, also downplayed the poem, citing that it was added to the Statue of Liberty and was not part of the original structure
The Lazarus poem was written in 1883 to help raise funds for the statue’s base
Cuccinelli was appointed as acting Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in June, but before that was the attorney general in Virginia.
Bullock served as the Montana attorney general around the same time Cuccinelli was serving in Virginia.
White House adviser Stephen Miller, who oversees immigration policy for the president, also invoked the Statue of Liberty and down played the words in the poem during an August 2018 exchange with reporters.
‘I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you’re referring to was added later and is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty,’ he said.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 with Lazarus’ poem added 17 years later. She wrote the sonnet in 1883 to raise funds for the statue’s pedestal.