As part of his shameful attempt to remake the Statue of Liberty in a white supremacist image by implying that it was intended to welcome European immigrants only, USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli also tried to defend Trump's and Miller's huge expansion of the long -standing "Public Charge" inadmissibility grounds.as a weapon against brown immigrants.See, Common Dreams, August 13:

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/13/give-me-your-tired-and-your-poor-who-can-stand-on-their-own-two-feet-top-trump-official

Cuccinelli argued that Public Charge was only intended to support the traditional American value of "Self-Sufficiency". This is nothing more than a cruel lie.

It is true that, as Cuccinelli says, the "Public Charge" rules against immigrants have been around in America for a long time - first as state laws in the early and mid-19th Century, and then as federal law beginning in 1882. It is no accident that that was also the year that the first, infamous, Chinese exclusion act was adopted.

Professor Hidetaka Hirota, who has taught immigration history at both City University of New York and Columbia University and is the author of a book about Public Charge called Expelling the Poor, had the following to say about using Public Charge against Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1840's and 1850's, in a 2017 interview with The Atlantic when Miller's plan to use expand laws first came to light

"But at the same time, would not have developed if there was no strong cultural and religious prejudice, especially against Irish Catholics. Ethnic prejudice really facilitated the formation of state policies that targeted the destitute."

Hirota added, regarding the phrase: "likely to become a public charge" as used in these laws:

"The tricky thing about this clause is that officers could reject immigrants even if they were not actually paupers - officers could interpret the adjective 'likely' in any way they liked. The clause was a convenient tool to inject religious, ethnic and racial prejudice into technically neutral immigration law."

This last sentence is an apt description, not only of Trump's and Miller's wildly inflated new Public Charge rules, but of their entire agenda regarding both legal and unauthorized immigration.

Hirota continues:

"From the moment of the introduction of the clause, it was abused by officers who had personal prejudices against particular immigrants. In the mid 19th century,the target was the Irish. Even if an immigrant had a sufficient amount of money at the time of arrival. immigration officers excluded some people on the ground that was no demand for their employment.So officers regarded them as 'likely to become a public charge.'"

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/trump-poor-immigrants-public-charge/515397/

In my next comment on this topic, I will delve further into the history of "Public Charge" as a weapon against Asian, Middle Eastern and non-"Nordic" European immigrants, including Cuccinelli's Italian and Miller's Jewish ancestors, in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries - culminating in the notorious 1924 "National Origins" immigration act which barred almost all immigrants who were not from Northern Europe ("Countries like Norway") for the next four decades.

I will also comment further about how Cuccinelli's attempt to prevaricate about and distort America's immigration history in order to defend Trump and Miller's whites-only immigration agenda reflects on Cuccinelli's fitness to occupy the powerful and influential position of USCIS director - with its enormous power to affect the lives of millions of applicants for green cards and other legal immigration benefits.


Roger Algase
Attorney at Law
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