CNN’s Jim Acosta suggested during a press conference that President Trump’s new immigration proposal did not match up with American values. To make his point Acosta cited the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s base:
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-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Acosta pointed out that the poem did not “say anything about speaking English… Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming to this country if you are telling them they have to speak English?” He added, “It sounds like you’re trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country as policy.”
Stephen Miller, an advisor to the president snapped back, “Jim, that is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you’ve ever said…The notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting.”
I would have responded differently if my intent was to entice the media into portraying the policy as both fair and in tune with our principles: “Jim, I can see how you might come to that conclusion based on a quick look at a portion of the president’s statement. But if you examine it closely I think that you will find that it meets a dual goal of being fair to both potential immigrants and to American workers. The intent is to find a balance that is compassionate while adding value to our nation.”
Of course, if I said that I would be lying because I believe that Acosta’s understanding is the correct one. Miller did not have truth on his side so he attacked.