Ken Cuccinelli Selected to Serve as USCIS Acting Director
By Heather Ham-Warren | June 14, 2019
Earlier this week President Trump tapped Ken Cuccinelli to serve as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which administers the nation’s naturalization and immigration systems. The decision follows an agency-wide “shake up” resulting in new acting leadership at DHS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and now USCIS.
In an email to USCIS staff, Cuccinelli stated, “We must work hand in hand with our colleagues within DHS along with our other federal partners to address challenges to our legal immigration system and enforce existing immigration law. Together we will continue to work to stem the crisis at our southwest border. We will also work to find long term solutions to close asylum loopholes that encourage many to make the dangerous journey into the United States so that those who truly need humanitarian protections and meet the criteria under the law receive them.”
President of FAIR, Dan Stein, released a statement of support for the selection. The statement read, in part, “Record levels of illegal immigration and widespread abuse of political asylum laws are overwhelming the agencies charged with managing our immigration system… The president has tapped a staunch supporter of the administration’s agenda who has his confidence to carry out a difficult job in the absence of action by Congress to address the root causes of the crisis.”
Despite performing the duties of an acting director, Cuccinelli’s official title is “principal deputy director,” and no official nomination has been submitted to the Senate at this time. Even if an official nomination is submitted, confirmation could be difficult. According to Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Cuccinelli has “spent a fair amount of his career (as the head of the Senate Conservatives Fund) attacking Republicans in the Senate… It’s unlikely he’s going to be confirmed if he is nominated.”
In addition to his time at the Senate Conservative Fund, Ken Cuccinelli previously served at Virginia’s attorney general before unsuccessfully running for governor.
To read FAIR’s full statement, please click here.