A new Las Vegas mural depicting the Statue of Liberty getting handcuffed and arrested by federal agents is gaining attention on the same day President Trump's immigration chief rewrote the famous poem on the iconic symbol of freedom.
Artist Izaac Zevalking, an immigrant from the UK, painted the eyebrow-raising image on the wall near S. Main Street and Charleston Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas before posting pictures of it online on July 29.
'My purpose of doing what I did with the Statue of Liberty is to try and draw analogies with America's past and how it was founded and how it was largely built by immigrants, to really make an analogy out of that so that people can apply that to contemporary society and contemporary issues a little bit more,' Zevalking, who calls himself, 'Recycled Propaganda,' online, told KTNV.
The image shows Lady Liberty leaning over the hood of a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement cruiser with her hands handcuffed behind her back.
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A new mural depicting the Statue of Liberty getting handcuffed and arrested by federal agents is catching attention as the nation continues to grapple with defining its values on the issue of immigration in the era of Donald Trump
Artist Izaac Zevalking painted the eyebrow-raising mural on a wall near S. Main Street and Charleston Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas
The artwork has garnered attention and sparked debate on social media on the same day Donald Trump's immigration chief amended the words of the famous poem on the Statue of Liberty to include the, 'poor who can stand on their own two feet.'
In 1903, a bronze tablet with the text of Emma Lazarus's sonnet 'The New Colossus' - which she had written 20 years earlier - was presented by friends of the poet to be added to the Statute of Liberty. It was originally mounted inside the pedestal but today resides in the Statue of Liberty Museum in the base.
During an NPR interview, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was asked if the words from Emma Lazarus' poem - 'give me your tired, your poor' - were still part of 'the American ethos.'
'They certainly,' he responded before changing the words to, 'Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.'
Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli is defending the new, 'public charge,' rule after it came under fire from immigration advocates
Emma Lazarus's sonnet, 'The New Colossus,' rests inside the base of the Statue of Liberty
The Lazarus poem was written in 1883 to help raise funds for the statue's base
Zevalking said he painted the mural to, 'draw analogies with America's past and how it was founded and how it was largely built by immigrants'
Cuccinelli is not the first Trump administration official to put their own spin on the famous words from Lazarus' poem.
White House adviser Stephen Miller, who oversees immigration policy for the president, down played them in an August 2018 exchange with reporters.
'I don't want to get off into a whole thing about history here, but the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you're referring to was added later and is not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty,' he said.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 with Lazarus' poem added 17 years later. She wrote the sonnet in 1883 to raise funds for the statue's pedestal.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Trump defended his new policy before he left for an event in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
'I don't think it's fair to have the American taxpayer, it's about Americans first, it's not fair to have the American taxpayer pay for people to come into the United States,' he told reporters in New Jersey where he is spending a few weeks at his Trump National Golf Course Bedminister.
'I'm tired of seeing our taxpayer paying for people to come into the country and immediately go on to welfare and various other things,' the president added. 'I think we're doing it right.'
Cuccinelli, in his NPR interview, was defending the president's the new 'public charge' rule that was announced on Monday.
It has come under fire from immigration advocacy groups and is facing lawsuits from state attorneys general.
Cuccinelli argued it is a, 'privilege,' for a migrant to be granted American citizenship and that, 'privilege,' entails financial independence.
'We invite people to come here and join us as a privilege. No one has a right to become an American who isn't born here as an American,' he said.
'It is a privilege to become an American – not a right for anybody who is not already an American citizen,' he added.
Cuccinelli argued anyone who wants to become a citizen should be able to support themselves and not to have to avail themselves of government services, which are free to U.S. citizens.
White House adviser Stephen Miller, who oversees immigration policy, has long pushed for the rule
'That privilege starts with certain expectations and for the last 140 years among those expectations is that the people who come here will not become a burden on the tax payers or the government. Again that doesn't seem too much to ask as we open our doors currently to more than 1 million new people a year: that they not become a burden on an already, frankly, over-burdened and bankrupt welfare system,' he told NPR.
Cuccinelli announced on Monday the administration will crack down on green cards for immigrants who've spent more than a year on food stamps, Medicaid or other public benefits designated for low-income residents.
That new 'public charge' rule essentially implements a wealth test for those seeking citizenship to ensure immigrants have the financial means to support themselves.
When asked by NPR what immigrants are welcome to the country, Cuccinelli responded: 'All immigrants who can stand on their own two feet, self-sufficient, pull themselves up by their boot straps – as in the American tradition.'
Cuccinelli rewrote the words to the poem on the Statue of Liberty as he defended the president's new