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Critics have decried the effort to limit legal immigration for lower-income people affront to the ideals of the United States highlighted by the inscription on the Statue of Liberty that reads "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Responding to reporters questions about that poem, President Trump said, "I am tired of seeing our taxpayers paying for people to come into our country and immediately go onto welfare and various other things so I think we're doing what's right." Trump aide Miller, asked in 2017 about whether the administration's policies countered that inscription, said the words were not original to the monument.
Cuccinelli was also asked about the inscription at the White House on Monday and said: "I do not think, by any means, we are ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty." In early 2018, Trump rejected a bipartisan effort in Congress to reform the immigration system.
The effort became embroiled in controversy over accusations by a Democratic senator that the Republican president disparaged African and Caribbean nations with a vulgarity in regard to their immigrants.
Trump was reported to have asked why the United States could not get more immigrants form northern Europe.