President Trump’s aide, Stephen Miller, bashed CNN’s Jim Acosta for suggested that the Trump administration’s immigration policies were racist.
“What you’re proposing here or what the president is proposing here does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration,” Acosta argued. “The Statue of Liberty says ‘give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,’ it doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.”
“Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them you have to speak English? Can’t people learn how to speak English when they get here?” Acosta questioned.
“Well, first of all,” Miller responded, “right now it’s a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English, so the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of our immigration systems would actually be very ahistorical.”
“Secondly I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history here,” Miller continued, “but the Statute of Liberty is a symbol of liberty and lightening the world. It’s a symbol of American liberty lightening the world. The poem that you’re referring to that was added later, is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.”
“That sounds like some National Park revisionism,” Acosta retorted. “The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope for the world for people to send their people to this country and they’re not always gonna speak English, Stephen, they’re not always gonna be highly skilled …”
“Jim, Jim,” Miller argued, “I appreciate your speech, so let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the State of Liberty law of the land? In the 1990s, when it was half a million a year, was it violating or not violating the State of Liberty law of the land? When it was 700,000 a year — no, tell me what years, tell me what years, meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem law of the land.”
“So you’re saying a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number,” Miller exclaimed, “900,000 violates it, 800,000 violates it?”
“Surely, Jim you don’t actually think that a wall affects green card policy?” Miller struck back. “You couldn’t possibly believe that, do you? Actually, the notion that you actually think that immigration is at a historic low, the foreign-born population of the United States today… Do you really, Jim, I wanna be serious, do you really at CNN not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?”
“Sir, my father was a Cuban immigrant, he came to this country in 1962, right before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and obtained a green card, yes,” Acosta stated.
“They may learn English as a second language later on in life,” Acosta explained, “but this whole notion that they have to learn English before they get to the United States — are we just gonna bring people in from Great Britain and Australia?”
“Jim, actually, I have to honestly say,” Miller mocked, “I am shocked at your statement that you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It actually reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind, no, this is an amazing moment, this is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants from all over the world.”
Acosta responded that it the bill intended to “engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.”
Miller countered, saying, “the reality is that the foreign-born population into our country has quadrupled since 1970. That’s a fact, it’s been mostly driven by green card policy. Now this bill allows for immediate nuclear family members to come into the country, much as they would today.”