Hik­ing be­fore the storm

Rappahannock News - - Schools - — John McCaslin

And where was Ken Cuc­cinelli, the act­ing di­rec­tor of US Cit­i­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, lit­er­ally hours be­fore mak­ing head­lines for re­vis­ing the iconic poem on the Statue of Lib­erty's pedestal, sug­gest­ing only im­mi­grants who can “stand on their own two feet” are wel­come in the United States?

He was hik­ing Sun­day af­ter­noon along the Whi­teoak Canyon Trail in Shenan­doah Na­tional Park, go­ing so far as to stand with sev­eral of his chil­dren atop a pre­car­i­ous boul­der high above the canyon’s 60-foot water­fall as their pic­ture was be­ing taken from the pool of wa­ter be­low.

“Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus's words etched on the Statue of Lib­erty, ‘Give me your tired, give me your poor,’ are also a part of the Amer­i­can ethos?” Cuc­cinelli was asked by NPR fol­low­ing his White House brief­ing Mon­day on the new “pub­lic charge” rule that al­lows Un­cle Sam to con­sider ed­u­ca­tion and in­come while re­view­ing re­quests for visas and green cards.

“They cer­tainly are: ‘Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not be­come a pub­lic charge,’” he replied.

A for­mer state sen­a­tor who served as at­tor­ney gen­eral of Vir­ginia from 2010 to 2014, Cuc­cinelli made a point of telling the Rap­pa­han­nock News dur­ing his hike that Mon­day would be a big day. He said he and his wife, Al­ice, and their seven chil­dren con­tinue to make their home in Nokesville.

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