CNN correspondent Jim Acosta accused the White House of harboring a "bias against Latino immigrants," and as evidence, cited its approval of a Republican-backed bill that aims to drastically curb immigration in favor of higher skilled, English-speaking immigrants.
Speaking after Wednesday's White House press briefing, where he got into a heated exchange with senior adviser to the Trump administration Stephen Miller, Acosta said that the new bill is an offshoot of the president's hardline campaign rhetoric against illegal immigration at the Mexican border.
"I think this goes back, to a problem that this White House has," he said. "That bias against Latino immigrants has just sort of infected the president, some of his top officials who deal with this issue of immigration, throughout that entire time period [in the campaign] and I think you saw some of that spill out into the briefing room today."
President Trump said in prepared marks earlier in the day that the new bill "will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families, and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy."
Acosta said that the proposal is out of sync with what the poem engraved on the State of Liberty.
"What you're seeing with this policy proposal today here at the White House, when they put in the policy proposal ... that there's this preference for people who speak English coming into the country, you know, my question simply was, what about what our Statue of Liberty tells us?" he said.
The poem on the statue, which famously begins, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," is not an official policy document, a point Miller made in his battle with Acosta.