Immigration official defends controversial remarks

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli is doubling down his comments about the poem on the Statue of Liberty. ABC News' Kenneth Moton reports.
2:11 | 08/14/19

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Transcript for Immigration official defends controversial remarks
We turned out to the controversy stemming from the top administration's plan to place new limits on legal immigration a top official. Is now defending the remarks he made about the point on the statue of liberty. This morning the trump administration's so called public charge rule is facing growing scrutiny. It would make it harder for low income immigrants to give permanent residency if they're deemed likely to rely on government assistance. Such as food stamps or subsidize housing president trump says it's about putting America first. A top immigration official stirred controversy during an interview with NPR Tuesday. When he was asked that the famous point of on the statue of liberty still holds true. It reads give me your tired your poor your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. You're tired and your core can stand on their own two creeks. And who will not become public charge. And defending his remarks can could finale acting head of US citizenship and immigration services says before that famous porn was written in the late eighteen hundreds. The US passed the first public charge law to make sure immigrants were self sufficient. It was written one year one year after the first federal public charge rule was written. That says and I'll quote it any person unable to take care of himself. Without becoming a public charge unquote would be inadmissible same exact time in the year it went on the statue of liberty 1903. Another federal law was passed expanding. The elements of public chartered by congress this is that I mean when I'm actually saying it air act like rock stars from Scotland. Meanwhile this morning the first lawsuit against the new immigration limits has now been filed in California. We're county governments fear immigrants will now rely more on local services. Instead of those provided by the federal government. And barring there was a legal challenges the new public charge rule would take effect in October. You'll not applied to asylum seekers or refugees.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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