The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday that the poem "Masses piled up" on the Statue of Liberty was referring to migrants from Europe.
Ken Cuccinelli made a statement Tuesday night at CNN, telling a network presenter that the poem Emma Lazarus "was referring to people from Europe where they lived in class societies."
He added that in European countries "people were considered miserable if they were not in the right class, and this was written a year after the first federal rule on public office was written."
Cuccinelli was answering a question from host Erin Burnett about the fact that he himself had modified the poem Tuesday in a conversation with NPR.
"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand up and who will not become a public office," Cuccinelli said in NPR's "Morning Edition," while answering a question about the updated requirements of the NPR. 39, Trump administration for obtaining a green card. .
When Burnett asked him about his statement, he told him that he did not intend to rewrite the poem.
"I was answering a question. I did not write poetry, Erin. Do not change the facts. You twist this as everyone left has done it all day, "said Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli announced on Monday that a rule change would give federal officials more leeway to deny green cards to immigrants deemed likely to depend on government assistance, such as food stamps, housing assistance or Medicaid .