However, the poem's objective was to encourage people to donate money for the construction of the statues pedestal and assembly.
The administration official who offered that rewrite, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, affirmed on Wednesday that his words were intentional, including his added notion that the poem was written for Europeans.
"The rule is complicated and understanding precisely who will be subjected to this new public charge test is hard for families to discern", said Andrea Kovach, a senior attorney at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law.
Cuccinelli tried to pivot what his recent statement meant in an appearance on CNN, insisting that he was not quoting Lazarus' poem, despite him saying "give me your exhausted, your poor". Immigrants who use benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers could have their request for legal permanent status in the United States rejected because they would be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future.
The administration's proposed policy shift comes as President Donald Trump is leaning more heavily into the restrictive immigration policies that have energised his core supporters and were central to his 2016 victory. Paired with what many critics see as racially charged rhetoric aimed at African-Americans and Latinos, the president's policies have set off a fierce backlash among his critics, including in the Jewish community. NPR's Rachel Martin asked Cuccinelli on "Morning Edition" in an interview published Tuesday. Immigrant supporters say the real number could be much higher. Since 1903, they have welcomed millions of immigrants as they entered NY harbor.
The Trump administration said it doesn't want low income immigrants to be a burden on society despite using significantly less public benefits than low income adults born in the USA, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Last year, he privately referred to Central American and African nations as "shithole" countries and suggested the USA take in more immigrants from European countries such as predominantly white Norway.
Cuccinelli's initial statement and subsequent explanation further exemplify the racist attempts of the Trump administration to decrease the ability of certain immigrants to become naturalized citizens. The demonstration was held to protest the Trump administration's campaign to end temporary protected status, or TPS, for tens of thousands of immigrants nationwide.
Poverty and lack of opportunity are two of the main reasons why people emigrate to another country, so these restrictions will certainly impact many in the future who wish to enter the USA and become citizens. The government has at its disposal law enforcement databases, biometric screenings, and complex, risk-based algorithms to investigate the lives of these immigrant applicants.
Which makes me think - if we're going to debate a poem from 1883, why not look at the immigration system that inspired it?
He went on: "Secondly, 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".
Hai Do adapted this story for Learning English based on reporting by the Associated Press and Reuters.