Ken Cuccinelli Doesn't Understand What Immigration Has Meant to America
America is learning what Virginians have known for some time; Ken Cuccinelli is a bit of a jerk, and an ignorant one to boot. Prior to getting his new job in the Trump administration as acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, he served as Virginia's Attorney General, then lost to Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 gubernatorial election.
This one paragraph in his Wikipedia biography, captures Cuccinelli in all his bigoted, science-denying glory:
Wikipedia: "A self-described opponent of homosexuality, Cuccinelli in his position as Virginia Attorney General defended anti-sodomy laws and prohibitions on same-sex marriage. Cuccinelli rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, and in his position as Attorney General investigated climate scientists, who he argued were engaged in fraud. He filed lawsuits against the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. Characterized as an immigration hard-liner, Cuccinelli sought to prohibit undocumented immigrants from attending universities, repeal birthright citizenship, and force employees to speak English in the workplace."
In addition, Cuccinelli served as an adviser to Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign, opposes almost all rights to an abortion, has been a strong supporter in Virginia of abstinence-only sex education and flirted with "birtherism," before backing off.
So, no one in Virginia was surprised yesterday to hear Cuccinelli babble on about the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. The poem reads, in part, "give me your tired your poor huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore..." Cuccinelli reworded it as, "give me your tired and poor who can stand on their own two feet, not become a public charge." He did that to support new Trump administration rules restricting many immigrants from gaining permanent legal status if they are low-income, have little education or have ever relied on safety net programs like Medicaid or food stamps. The new regulations would make it difficult for anyone but the well-off to gain permanent residency.
Cuccinelli obviously thought his revised inscription was clever and would play well with the Trump base, but when asked about it by CNN's Erin Burnett, he dug himself a rather large hole, one that most Virginians would recognize immediately.
BBC: "Then asked by anchor Erin Burnett about what America stands for, he said: "Of course that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe - where they had class-based societies where people were considering wretched if they weren't in the right class."
Three things Ken.
First, it sounds like you think that America's door was only open to Europeans, which has never been true. The majority of immigrants entering New York harbor in the 20th century may have been from Europe, but the sentiment of the poem has always been inclusive, welcoming all those coming to America to make a better life for themselves and their families. It wasn't just for white people Ken.
Second, "class-based societies" are exactly the problem facing most folks coming to America today, even more so than in Europe in the 19th and 20th century. And, for instance, it is the scourge of Central America where a small group of families have always held most of the wealth. Those that emigrate here from El Salvador and Honduras are escaping violence and a class system rigged in favor of a select few.
And third, Ken, this nation was built on the backs of simple workers who came to America to create a better life, not just by well heeled stem workers seeking higher incomes and beach condos. Some immigrants might need a bit of help getting started but we all have benefited from their labors and first and second generation immigrants, even those of humble means, are America's engine for future growth.
AP News: “Immigrants are about twice as likely as natives to start new businesses,” says Arnobio Morelix, an analyst at the Kauffman Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurship.
"A study last year by the Center for American Entrepreneurship concluded that 43 percent of the companies in the Fortune 500 were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants."
Legal immigrants aren't a burden on America, they are why we have been so successful and we will need even more of them in the future as the nation ages with fewer young people entering the workforce.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content