A lot of coverage of the proposed RAISE Act immigration plan was overshadowed yesterday by a fiery, combative exchange in the daily White House press briefing between White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and CNN reporter Jim Acosta. Miller took a few questions about the proposed immigration overhaul during Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' daily press briefing. While he sparred a bit with a New York Times reporter who asked what research backed up the policy proposals, he really got into it with Acosta.
Acosta questioned whether the proposal is, quote, "trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country," and recited part of the poem engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, etc." Miller replied that the famous poem wasn't part of the original Statue of Liberty but was added later, and Acosta fired back that, quote, "sounds like some National Park revisionism." Acosta also challenged the preference for immigrants who already speak English, saying, "Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?" Miller then declared, "I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. Actually, it reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree."
In another exchange, Acosta said the proposed policy appeared to be an effort to, quote, "engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country," and Miller called that "one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you've ever said . . . the notion that you think that this is a racist bill is so wrong and so insulting." Acosta responded that he never said it was racist.