The poem on display at the Statue of Liberty is back in the news because acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday said it refers to “people from Europe.”
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” are the most famous lines from “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. The entire poem is cast in a bronze plaque on the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands.
Cuccinelli’s take on the meaning of the lines and new rules regarding immigrants and public assistance has fueled a national debate about the American Ethos.
Wednesday afternoon, the Oelwein Daily Register’s Deb Kunkle and Jesusa Christians went into the community to ask people “What does the Statue of Liberty’s poem mean to you?”
The question was also put out to people following the Register’s Facebook page.