White House adviser Stephen Miller embarrassed CNN’s Jim Acosta for stereotyping English-speaking immigrants as coming from either Australia or Great Britain, which Miller ripped as ignorant and reflective of Acosta’s “cosmopolitan” worldview.
Miller took questions from reporters after President Trump came out in support of a Senate bill that would revamp the immigration system into a merit-based system that prioritizes high-skilled, English-speaking immigrants.
Acosta — who is known for trying to make himself the star of White House press briefings — embarked on a lecture about immigration where he appeared to argue that the Statue of Liberty somehow bans America from prioritizing high-skilled immigrants.
“What you’re proposing, or what the president’s proposing here, does not sound like it’s in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigration,” Acosta claimed. “The Statue of Liberty says, ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,’ it doesn’t say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them, you have to speak English when they get here?”
“Well, first of all, right now, it’s a requirement that to be naturalized you have to speak English, so the notion that speaking English wouldn’t be a part of immigration systems would be very ahistorical,” Miller explained to Acosta.
“Secondly, I don’t want to get off into a whole thing about history, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that was added later is not a part of the original Statue of Liberty. But more fundamentally…” Miller said, before Acosta interrupted him (which he did repeatedly).
Acosta even suggested that “this whole notion of they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?”
“I have to say, I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It’s all — it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree that in your mind — no, this is an amazing moment. This is an amazing moment,” Miller said. “That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who do speak English from all over the world. Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia? Is that your personal experience?”