President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller ripped into CNN’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday during a White House press briefing, accusing him of having a “cosmopolitan bias” over his attitude to immigration.
Acosta claimed that the plan was not in keeping with the values of the Statue of Liberty, referencing a poem attributed to the statue after its construction.
“The Statue of Liberty has always been a beacon of hope to the world for people to send their people to this country, and they’re not always going to speak English Stephen, they’re not always going to be highly skilled,” Acosta said.
Miller responded accordingly:
I appreciate your speech, so let’s talk about this. In 1970, when we let in 300,000 people a year, was that violating or not violating the state of liberty law of the land?
In 1990s, when we let in half a million people a year, was that violating or not violating the law of the land? Tell me what years meet Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty per law of the land. You’re saying a million a year is the Statue of Liberty number — 900,000 violates, 800,000 violates it.
He went on to point out the historical inaccuracy of Acosta’s claims:
Your statements are also shockingly ahistorical in another respect too, which is, if you look at the history of immigration, it has actually ebbed and flowed, we’ve had very large waves, periods of less immigration and more immigration.
Acosta went on to challenge Miller, arguing that Trump wants to bring a “sweeping change to the immigration system” by building a wall, and falsely claiming that immigration is now at a “historic low.”
You don’t actually think the wall affects green card policy? You couldn’t possibly believe that could you? Actually, the notion that you actually think immigration is at a historic low. Do you at CNN really not know the difference between green card policy and illegal immigration?
Acosta claimed that, as the son of a Cuban immigrant, he fully understands green card policy and suggested that if the administration seeks to prioritize English speakers, that policy would mean “only bringing in people from Britain and Australia.”
Miller hit back:
Jim, I just got to say, I am shocked by your statement, that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It reveals your cosmpolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind … this is an amazing moment … that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants that do speak English from all over the world.
The exchange follows an announcement from President Donald Trump on Wednesday of plans to introduce a merit-based immigration reform, designed to help millions of Americans hurt by the nation’s current cheap-labor immigration policies.
The legislation, introduced by Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) is formally titled the “Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act” (RAISE), which will radically cut legal migration and prioritize immigrants who are best positioned to succeed in the United States and improve the economy.