Trump aide, reporters spar over immigration plan

| Updated: Aug 03, 2017 08:54 IST

Washington [U.S.A.], August 3 (ANI): A top aide to United States President Donald Trump got into a heated exchange with a CNN reporter, while the former was addressing a press briefing and apprising the media about a Republican proposal to limit legal immigration. The journalist accused the White House of promoting a racist immigration policy because it requires migrants to speak English to be "able to work in the U.S." to which the White House aide responded by calling upon him for his "cosmopolitan bias." It all started when CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked presidential aide Stephen Miller if "the immigration proposal violated the principles engraved on the Statue of Liberty to 'give me your tired, your poor' huddled masses seeking freedom." When Miller said the poem was "added later" to the statue, Acosta retorted, "that sounds like some sort of National Park revisionism." Acosta, who said his father immigrated from Cuba before the Cuban Missile Crisis, questioned whether the White House's policy is in keeping with American tradition. "You are sort of bringing a 'press 1 for English' philosophy here to immigration and that's never been what the United States has been about," Acosta said. Acosta then asked if the requirement for immigrants to speak English was designed to "engineer racial and ethnic" immigration policy so that only people from Great Britain and Australia are allowed into the U.S. Miller replied, "I am shocked at your statement that you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree. This is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world." Miller called the reporter's comments "outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish." The White House aide later apologised to Acosta before leaving the lectern, saying "things got heated", but added that the CNN anchor "made some pretty rough insinuations." Earlier in the briefing, Miller sparred with a reporter from The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, over the same legislation. Thrush asked Miller to cite "specific numbers that prove the correlation between those two things because your entire policy is based on that." Miller ticked through several studies, adding that they were also supported by "common sense." Thrush responded by saying, "I'm not asking for common sense. I'm asking for specific statistical data." "I think it's pretty clear, Glenn, that you're not asking for common sense," Miller shot back. At one point Miller suggested The New York Times could hire "less-skilled, low-paid workers from other countries" if the media outlet disagrees with the administration's new immigration policy. "See how you feel about it then," he said. Earlier in the day, Trump threw his support behind the legislation that looks to curb the level of legal immigration into the country by proposing a skills-based immigration system. Trump cast the proposal as a way to dramatically remake the current immigration system and to protect American workers by reducing unskilled immigration. The new system aims at creating a merit-based system that grades possible immigrants based on their "ability to work" in the United States. (ANI)