Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright knocked acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli for his revisions to the Statue of Liberty immigration poem.
Ms. Albright, wearing a large Statue of Liberty pin, decried Mr. Cuccinelli for rewriting Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus,” adding a line that immigrants should be able to “stand on their own two feet” and saying the poem was referring to “people coming from Europe.”
“The Statue of Liberty is weeping,” she said to CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I’ve been a refugee twice, once from the Nazis and we were in England and then we came to the United States when the Communists took over in Czechoslovakia.”
“I think that it’s one of the most un-American things that I have ever heard and I will remember seeing the Statue of Liberty as we sailed by. And my father used to say that when we were in England, people would say, ‘We’re so sorry your country has been taken over by a terrible dictator. You’re welcome here and when are you going home?’ And when we came to the United States, people said, ‘We’re so sorry your country’s been taken over by a terrible system. You’re welcome here and when will you become a citizen?’ ” Ms. Albright said.
“And my father said, ‘That’s what made America a different country.’ And now we are forgetting that great history of our country,” she said.
Ms. Albright said she found Mr. Cuccinelli’s comments “insulting” and added she hopes he regrets them.
“It does not signify an entire view of this country because I think the American people are incredibly generous and do want to, and really celebrate our diversity. They don’t hate it,” she said.
Mr. Cuccinelli garnered controversy Tuesday by suggesting changes to the poem to fit closer to the administration’s new rule changes limiting immigration for poorer migrants.