04 August, 2017
Or not. During a briefing on Wednesday, a top White House aide said that line was added to Lady Liberty later, so it doesn't really count, in an attempt to bolster President Donald Trump's support for revamping the nation's legal immigration priorities.
"Jim, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English", Miller said. His exact words were: "It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree".
Acosta and Miller proceeded to take turns angrily interrupting each other, but the ugliest moment came after Acosta directly asked whether the policies were meant to curtail immigration from countries where English isn't the national language.
Acosta, of course, won't go down so easily, he shot back,"Didn't you grow up in Los Angeles?" and then later said, "sounds like you're trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country through this policy ".
In their sparring match, Acosta asked Miller whether the RAISE Act - which promotes policies that would favor legal immigrants who speak english and support themselves financially - was counter intuitive to the spirit of American immigration.
During the press briefing, Acosta, when talking about the United States opening its doors to immigrants, cites a line from a poem - "your exhausted, your poor, your huddled masses" - written by Emma Lazarus, which is etched on the Statue of Liberty.
"The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country, and they're not always going to speak English Stephen, they're not always going to be highly skilled", Acosta protested. The poem that you're referring to that was added later and is not part of the original Statue of Liberty.
Miller was detailing Republican legislation created to limit legal immigration. The sculpture itself, which sits in the New York Harbor and was visible on the path to the immigration checkpoint at Ellis Island, was a gift from France to the US.
Acosta is the CNN reporter who irritated Trump so much at a January news conference that the president exclaimed "You are fake news!" She wrote the poem, "The New Colossus", from which the famous lines on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal were taken in 1883 for the goal of raising funds for ... wait for it ... "Can't people learn how to speak English when they get here?" But it was not inscribed on a plaque and placed on a wall of the statue's pedestal until 1903.
The frequently contentious Miller stuck to his message about unskilled, illegal immigration taking jobs from Americans throughout most of the press briefing, which went off the rails during the final question.
"Jim, Jim", Miller argued, "I appreciate your speech, so let's talk about this".
Trump cast the proposal as a way to protect American workers by reducing unskilled immigration and creating a merit-based system that grades possible immigrants based on their ability to work in the United States. This an wonderful moment.
Acosta pointed out that his father was a Cuban immigrant who learned English after coming to the United States.
I wish I could say that Hillel's smear is unworthy of the Associated Press, but the unfortunate reality is that smearing President Trump and members of his administration is the AP's main project these days.