AUSTIN, Texas — Ken Cuccuinelli, President Donald Trump's acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, suggested Tuesday that the famous words of the Statue of Liberty would be better written, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

His suggestion was in response to the Trump Administration's latest rule for immigrants legally in the U.S., which would issue a strike against people wanting to become permanent citizens if they use public assistance, like food stamps or subsidized housing for a total of 12 months in a three-year time span. It would not apply to people who currently have or are renewing green-cards, pregnant women, children or refugees and asylum seekers.

"I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayers paying for people to come into the United States," President Trump told reporters.


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Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County Republican Party, told KVUE it's just sound policy.

"Look, I mean there's a limit to how generous America can be," Mackowiak said. "And, you know, I think asking someone who is to not be primarily dependent on public benefits if they want to stay here, I think that's reasonable."

Cheasty Anderson, Ph.D., a senior policy associate with The Children's Defense Fund of Texas, disagreed.

"That is not fair," she said, adding that while children are exempt, in Texas alone, 1.6 million kids are at risk of losing services they need. 


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"We are seeing a chilling effect. By which I mean people are so afraid, whether they're impacted or not impacted, they're just saying, 'I'm not going to deal with this,' and they're withdrawing themselves from programs," Anderson said. "They're also withdrawing their citizen children who are eligible for these programs, who need these programs."

She said this is just the latest action aiming to build an "invisible wall" in America to isolate and remove immigrants. 

Several states have announced plans to file lawsuits against the administration to stop the rule. It is set to go into effect on October 15.

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