Opinion | The tired and poor people who make America great


America is on the eve of grand human rescheduling. On Monday, the Trump government announced new immigration rules that favor younger, healthier and richer newcomers and make it easier to refuse permanent residence to people using public assistance programs such as Medicaid, or those who don't show enough money on their visa applications.

When asked about the apparent contradiction between the new rules and the famous poem in which & # 39; tired and poor & # 39; of the world is written on the Statue of Liberty, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, proposed an interpretation that adds: "stand on your own two feet" as new criteria. He then reassured the public that no revisions to the actual statue would be made. Mr Cuccinelli's dedication to preserving historic monuments is encouraging, but it looks a bit like preserving a can of Coca-Cola, America's other global icon, and filling it with vinegar. America is not America if a person with the proverbial $ 200 in his pocket is not allowed here.

When I started in the 20s from Russia to the & # 39; land of the free & # 39; I did not have to rely on public assistance. But I have seen enough immigrants who did – some because they got old and sick; others because they were hit by accident. Neither category wanted & # 39; a public indictment & # 39; the term that refers to persons who are likely to become dependent on the government. Those who are forced to leave their home country do not do so because they want to load freely. But life happens just like with people with American passports.

Take my father-in-law. As a successful journalist from the Soviet era, he applied for an exit visa in 1979 with a plan to work for the Voice of America radio station. By the time he was finally allowed to leave in 1987, he had survived a huge heart attack. He suffered another on his way to Boston, then seven more, plus two strokes; Medicaid paid for his treatment. My father-in-law has never adapted to living in a tiny studio in a subsidized home for 600 dollars a month. But he lived after he defied the opportunities that had been granted to him by the doctors in his own country.

My childhood friend's father had a different path in the gloomy area of ​​public aid. After receiving the death threats from the local Mafia, he and his wife were forced to leave their thriving business in Russia and seek refuge with their daughter, married to a Texan. My friend's father was very determined to never "get on the neck of the government." A manager and entrepreneur for most of his life, he took a job on the shelves in a suburban wine shop and was able to get up again, move himself and his wife to his own place. Unfortunately, his first mortgage bill came with a phase 4 cancer diagnosis. The wine shop did not offer health insurance, but he qualified for Medicaid. He continued to work while he was standing, using what was left of his disability checks for his mortgage. The rest of his expenses were paid by his daughters, including those related to his funeral.

The new immigration rules of the Trump administration make these situations, with a basic guarantee of life and dignity for everyone, much harder to achieve. They continue with the policy of division – in "beautiful places" such as Mar-a-Lago and "rat holes" such as Baltimore, "good countries" and "shithole countries", those who "can stand on their own" and who can it doesn't. The moral damage that this type of leadership entails is clearly not a concern for this president, or for those who support him.

They must, however, worry about what is to come: every society that starts to marginalize certain groups will eventually need new goals. For decades, Republicans have been trying out the worn & # 39; safety net & # 39; get rid of under the guise of self-reliance. With these new rules, adopted without approval from the congress, they came closer. Once the concept of "standing on its own two feet" as a privilege of good citizenship comes into force, it can be scaled up – to the refugees, who are currently exempt from the rules, to naturalized citizens and even to those born American. People who are today cheering for the Trump administration's sorting policy may need to seek help tomorrow – and preach about self-sufficiency.

The America that & # 39; tired and poor & # 39; of the world is clearly not the America that President Trump and his peers want. Mr. Cuccinelli even went so far as to suggest that the plaque with the iconic poem was made in an attempt to make the first & # 39; public indictment & # 39; to justify. But whatever they say, the principle was written in bronze on America & # 39; s most sustainable symbol and in our heart, is the law of the country. As long as the Statue of Liberty exists, it makes Donald Trump a deceiver, while those who come to build this country with their hard labor are the real citizens.