Letters to the Editor: The Trump administration says, ‘Don’t bring us your public charges’

A top Trump administration official says the famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants into the country is about “people coming from Europe.”
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

To the editor: The acting head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, has said that Emma Lazarus’ poem, which speaks for our nation from our Statue of Liberty, should be reinterpreted. Instead of stating that our country is strong enough to welcome the world’s poor, the statue should now only welcome the world’s self sufficient.

My father was an immigrant from Poland who never went to college and couldn’t afford to send his children to college. We all graduated from college, though, working and borrowing to get it done, because he taught us to love education. Having now lived long lives, we have learned that no one is self-sufficient. Everyone, from the richest to the poorest, depends on others for what they have. It does not take compassion, or a basic morality, to know that what Cuccinelli is pushing is wrong. But it does take a love of life’s truth.

Aron Laub, Woodland Hills


To the editor: When Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus” in 1883, it was enough for people to be able to come to our country and not be persecuted. They would look for any work and their dream was that their future generations would have a better life than the one they made for the most part, working awful jobs. There was no welfare system other than that and none was expected.

It’s nonsense to think that there should be an expectation of financial benefits other than what would be obtained from hard work. If that is the desire, the prospective immigrant should seek it elsewhere.

William Josephs, Ph.D., Encino

To the editor: When Cuccinelli states his preference for immigrants who “can stand on their own two feet,” I assume he means financially, unless he also bears antipathy against the physically impaired. If he is only speaking in dollars and cents, perhaps he sees an opportunity to transfer his immigration responsibilities over to the U.S. National Tourism office. When will he get his act together?

Bruce Strathdee, Palm Desert

To the editors: My grandparents immigrated to this country from Sweden before Ellis Island existed. I have been on Social Security for years; would Cuccinelli have a problem with me?


Nancy Lind Inganni, Palmdale

To the editor: Before you are approved to immigrate, there’s such a thing as an “affidavit of support” you are required to have so nobody will become a public charge. But it was never enforced by the government.

Thirty-seven years ago I had to provide an “affidavit of support” from my brother before my visa was approved. So, had the government been consistent in enforcing this requirement, this issue would never have come up. Now critics have a field day condemning the White House.

Ed Trillo, South Gate

To the editor: Time to quit hyperventilating. The headline in today’s Times, “White House broadens attack on immigration,” is incendiary. There is no attack, merely a return to a semblance of past policies. When my parents, brothers and I came to the U.S. in 1949, we had been sponsored by our American relatives with guarantees that we would not become burdens but would be provided assistance, if necessary, by our relatives already here. I believe our family received $50 from the U.S. government to get started.

It worked out just fine.

George Paulikas, Palos Verdes Estates


To the editor: Let the negotiations begin! If green-card candidates are going to be scrutinized to see if they have received public assistance such as Medicaid, food stamps or housing vouchers, thus decreasing their chance of earning said card, so be it. Just as long as President Trump hands over his tax returns for the last five years.

Joe Kevany, Mount Washington