Known for his advocacy of “borders, language and culture” long before Donald Trump entered the political scene, author and talk-radio host Michael Savage praised the president’s endorsement Wednesday of a plan to curb legal immigration, focusing on a merit-based system.
Savage said the new bill announced by Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas is “a shock to all of those politicians living off the illegal immigrant, whether through votes or through money being kicked up in one way or another.”
Noting he’s the son of an immigrant, he acknowledged that many Americans are confused by the Trump proposal, if not angered by it, because they are good-hearted people and argue America is “a nation of immigrants.”
Many quote the statement on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”
“Those are beautiful words … and we all think, ‘Well, that’s America; we’ve always accepted the poor, the masses, the wretched refuse,’” Savage said.
But the problem, he said, is that the famous 1883 poem by Emma Lazarus was written before the welfare state.
“Yes, my friends, we’re no longer living in the age of the Statue of Liberty, where we can take in all of the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” he said. “No, my friends, those days are over.”
The tired and poor and huddled masses of previous generations, Savage said, “were not coming here to sit on their fat behinds and drink a beer, or whatever they do — do nothing.”
“No, no, they worked their behinds off in factories. That’s why they lived 16 to a room. There was nothing waiting for them,” he said.
“They did it grimly, hoping that their child or children would do better than they did. That was the American way,” Savage said. “They did not expect to go to the front of the line and push the native-born out of the way.”
The bill announced Wednesday would reduce the number of annual legal permanent residents from 1 million to 500,000 and take into account an applicant’s English-speaking ability, education and work skills.
Give me your tired
At the White House press briefing, Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was challenged by CNN reporter Jim Acosta, who asked if the administration was trying to change the definition of an immigrant encapsulated in the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
Miller, in a combative exchange that dominated the briefing, argued the poem was added after the statue was installed. And he asked how the poem conflicts with the Republicans’ plan to allow half a million immigrants annually, noting the quota has varied over the years.
“Tell me what years Jim Acosta’s definition of the Statue of Liberty poem is the law of the land,” Miller said. “So you’re saying 1 million is the Statue of Liberty number? Nine hundred thousand violates it; 800,000 violates it?”
Savage emphasized that as a first-generation American, he doesn’t hate immigrants.
“I speak their language, and I love to watch the hard-working immigrants who I talk with — I’ve never seen workers like that in my life, whether they are on construction sites or elsewhere,” he said.
The problem, he said, is not “the hard-working immigrant in the restaurant.”
“The problem is that he has a wife at home with a number of children who may not be working. They’re probably not. And they’re receiving enormous amounts of welfare benefits,” he said.
“That’s why our health-care system is broken.”
It’s about culture, not race
Never before, Savage said, has the world seen the kind of mass population change that has occurred in America in the years since Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy successfully pushed for passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the system of national-origin quotas.
Savage recalled that Kennedy had promised there would be no change in demographics and no American worker would be displaced.
But now, allowed to continue, the populations of the United States and Europe, he said, “will no longer be the same populations of people who have existed there for hundreds or thousands of years and who built long-standing traditions of liberty and local self-government.”
“This has nothing to do with race. It has to do with culture,” he emphasized.
Savage pointed to the surge of Somali immigrants in Minnesota who refuse to assimilate, maintaining religious, cultural and political beliefs and practices at odds with longstanding traditions.
If the process continues, the culture and tradition of the local population will disappear, Savage said, “and with them goes their liberty.”
He observed: “It seems awfully coincidental that the new populations would be less likely to resist the borderless, globalist new world order where internationalist hoards and boards of unelected bureaucrats regulate the political and economic lives of everyone on the planet.”