Aug 15, 2019

Madeleine Albright blasts Ken Cuccinelli's Statue of Liberty comments as "un-American"

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a two-time refugee, blasted Ken Cuccinelli's rewording of the poem inside the Statue of Liberty as "one of the most un-American things that I’ve ever heard" during a CNN interview Wednesday.

The backdrop: Cuccinelli, the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, came under fire this week for using the poem to defend the Trump administration's rule that would penalize immigrants who use or are likely to utilize public benefit programs.

  • Cuccinelli told NPR this week that the poem today could read: "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."
  • "The New Colossus" actually reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Go deeper: Focus group: Trump's immigration edge

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Ken Cuccinelli: Kids of unauthorized immigrants should not have birthright citizenship

Acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli. Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told Axios' Mike Allen Thursday morning that birthright citizenship should be limited to the children of legal immigrants — although he doesn't expect any action on the issue any time soon.

The big picture: Cuccinelli declined to say whether he wants the Homeland Security secretary position or if acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan should get it permanently. "Answering questions like that creates news that shouldn't exist," he said. He said Trump has not approached him about the position, and that he will do his job aggressively.

Go deeperArrowSep 12, 2019

Immigrant-owned businesses contribute billions to U.S. economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Immigrants in the U.S. are twice as likely to start businesses as their native counterparts for a myriad of reasons, generating at least $1 trillion in annual sales revenue, per the New American Economy (NAE).

Driving the news: President Trump recently issued an immigration rule that targets legal immigrants "who are likely to use public benefit programs" — positioning them as a burden on taxpayers. However, studies show that immigrant-owned small businesses in the U.S. generate billions of dollars in tax revenue each year.

Go deeperArrowAug 17, 2019

Asylum seekers could be forced to wait longer to legally work in U.S.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Trump administration is planning to allow immigration officials to take as long as needed to approve work permits for asylum seekers by throwing out the current 30-day processing deadline, according to the proposed regulation released on Friday.

Why it matters: The rule could prevent some asylum seekers, awaiting a decision on their asylum claims in the U.S., from legally working for a long period of time. They are already forced to wait 180 days before they are eligible for a work permit. Asylum cases often take years due to immigration court backlogs.

Go deeperArrowSep 6, 2019