stephen miller
Stephen Miller talks to reporters about President Trump's support for creating a 'merit-based immigration system' in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A heated White House press briefing on Wednesday (7 August) that featured a bizarre sparring match between President Donald Trump's senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and CNN's Jim Acosta has social media furiously buzzing. Miller clashed with Acosta over the White House's new immigration policy that would move the country's immigration system over to a new "merit-based" one, shifting away from its current system which is mostly based on family ties.

Unveiled by President Trump earlier on Wednesday, the bill known as the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, would dramatically change US immigration laws.

During the on-camera press briefing on the new bill, Miller clashed with several reporters asking questions. At one point, Acosta pointed out that his father immigrated from Cuba before the Cuban Missile Crisis and questioned Miller as to whether the new bill was in keeping with US tradition.

"You are sort of bringing a 'press 1 for English' philosophy here to immigration and that's never been what the United States has been about," Acosta said. "Are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?"

Miller immediately retorted: "I can honestly say I am shocked at your statement that you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English. It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree — this is an amazing moment.

"That you think only people from Great Britain or Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hardworking immigrants who speak English from all over the world. Jim, have you honestly never met an immigrant from another country from another country who speaks English outside of Great Britain and Australia?"

Acosta then accused the Trump administration of attempting to "engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country" though the new policy. Miller slammed the accusation as "one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant and foolish things you've ever said."

The sonnet by Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus", which is etched into the base of the Statue of Liberty, was also pulled into the discussion as well.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," Acosta said, reading out a line from the poem. Miller said: "The poem you were referring to was added later. It's not actually part of the originally Statue of Liberty."

Meanwhile, Twitter lit up with debates over various aspects of the press briefing. While many social users furiously argued over the new immigration bill and accused Miller of being racist, others slammed Miller over his comments on the Statue of Liberty poem.

"Stephen Miller is so racist that the KKK won't need to wear white hoods anymore. They will just wear masks of Stephen Miller," one Twitter user wrote.

Many conservatives also rushed to support Miller saying he "finally shut down the main stream media" and "humiliated" Acosta. Some asserted that the press briefings should be taken offline again.

"Make Stephen Miller in charge of communications," one user wrote calling him an "absolute rock star."

While some people criticized Miller directly and accused him of being a "racist hypocrite", others chose to respond to the entire incident with a slew of memes and comments.

"Stephen Miller is so racist that the KKK won't need to wear white hoods anymore. They will just wear masks of Stephen Miller," one Twitter user wrote.

"As someone who IS immigrant (now citizen) &after 15+yrs still has accent & struggle sometime w English, lemme say this: F U, Stephen Miller!" acclaimed comic book artist Francesco Francavilla tweeted.