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America ReFramed

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Stories from the Stage

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Earth Focus

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Four Corners

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Democracy Now!

The Attack on Emma Lazarus's Iconic Statue of Liberty Poem

Opposition is growing to the Trump administration’s new proposal to implement radical changes to U.S. immigration law and slash the number of immigrants allowed into the United States by half. The RAISE Act would create a so-called merit-based immigration system that would favor applicants who speak English, have advanced degrees or can demonstrate job skills. On Wednesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta pressed senior policy adviser Stephen Miller over President Trump’s push to admit only English-speaking immigrants in a back-and-forth that lasted for several minutes. Acosta asked Miller about the iconic poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus that is inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, which reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." We speak about the woman who wrote those words, Emma Lazarus, with her biographer, Esther Schor, about why Lazarus wrote the poem, how it became one of the most iconic verses about the United States and why she has long been a target of white nationalists.

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