In an attempt to defend the controversial changes to immigration law, Ken Cuccinelli revised the famous poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

Cuccinelli appeared Tuesday morning on National Public Radio to discuss changes being made to immigration law, which would make legal immigration harder for individuals who would need to rely on government aid. The acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services has defended the new measure, explaining that it’s a means to encourage immigrants to stand on their own two feet.

In order to do so, he revised Emma Lazarus' famous poem that is etched on the Statue of Liberty.

Rachel Martin of NPR asked: “Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus's words etched on the Statue of Liberty, 'Give me your tired, give me your poor,' are also a part of the American ethos?”

“They certainly are: 'Give me your tired and your poor' who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli responded. “That plaque was put on the Statue of Liberty at almost the same time as the first public charge was passed -- very interesting timing.”

Cuccinelli has been in seemingly defensive mode since the new changes were announced on Monday. It included an exchange with CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, who pressed about the changes during the conference announcing the changes.

“I do not think, by any means, we're ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty,” Cuccinelli said Monday when asked about Lazarus’ poem. “We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world on a lot of bases, whether you be an asylee, whether you be coming here to join your family or immigrating yourself.”

Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty is seen during its reopening to the public in New York, July 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz