Last week we discovered that Ken Cuccinelli has no chance of being confirmed as Trump's immigration head because of all the Republican senators he's pissed off over the years, so on Monday, Trump simply named him as acting head and will leave him there indefinitely because nobody's going to tell him no.
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) on Monday began his new job as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a controversial appointment that could set up a showdown between the White House and Senate Republicans.
President Trump tapped Cuccinelli to lead the agency, which is tasked with administering the nation’s legal immigration system, at a time when he is seeking to crack down on illegal migration and make it tougher for immigrants to obtain benefits.
“Our nation has the most generous legal immigration system in the world and we must zealously safeguard its promise for those who lawfully come here,” Cuccinelli said in a statement distributed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “I look forward to working with the men and women of USCIS to ensure our legal immigration system operates effectively and efficiently while deterring fraud and protecting the American people.”
Cuccinelli’s appointment was weeks in the making, with Trump eyeing the fellow immigration hardliner for a top role at DHS.
He will replace L. Francis Cissna, who was forced out as USCIS chief late last month amid a rolling shakeup at the department.
Just like any other "Senate Republicans are against this" situation, they will fall in line and do what Trump tells them to do. And Cuccinelli is there for a reason.
As Virginia’s top law enforcement official and in his years serving in the Virginia state senate, Cuccinelli laid a long track of aggressive anti-immigrant policies intended to restrict access to public services, employment, and even citizenship from migrants and their families. That record, combined with his vociferous defense of President Donald Trump on cable news and in conservative media outlets, puts Cuccinelli firmly in line with an administration that has made combating undocumented immigration its top domestic policy goal.
In his new role at Homeland Security, Cuccinelli will be one of the Trump administration’s top bosses on immigration-related matters, a portfolio that has felled other senior administration officials in recent months as the president has grown dissatisfied with stubbornly high rates of illegal entry into the United States.
If his record on immigration issues is any indication, Cuccinelli will embrace that role with relish. While his support for President Donald Trump may be relatively newfound, his championing of hardline Trump-style immigration policies is more than a decade in the making.
Although Cuccinelli first drew national attention during his time as Virginia’s attorney general for his attempts to keep laws against oral sex on the books, he also became a staunch advocate on behalf of aggressive immigration policies in other states. In 2010, Cuccinelli filed an amicus brief in support of S.B. 1070, an Arizona law that allowed police officers to investigate the immigration status of any person arrested or detained by law enforcement based on a “reasonable suspicion” that they were in the country illegally. That same year, he released a legal opinion expanding a similar policy to include any suspected undocumented immigrant stopped by law enforcement for any reason.
“Virginia law enforcement officers have the authority to make the same inquiries as those contemplated by the new Arizona law,” Cuccinelli wrote in the opinion. “So long as the officers have the requisite level of suspicion to believe that a violation of the law has occurred, the officers may detain and briefly question a person they suspect has committed a federal crime.”
Cuccinelli told reporters at the time that any police officer had the authority to question potential undocumented immigrants “so long as they don’t extend the duration of a stop by any significant degree.”
Those stances on illegal immigration appear tame compared to other proposals that Cuccinelli had backed before becoming attorney general. During his eight years in the Virginia state senate, Cuccinelli was the chief patron—the body’s version of primary sponsor—of a rash of bills targeting undocumented immigrants in the commonwealth.
One proposed law would have allowed employers to fire employees who didn’t speak English in their workplace, and stipulated that any employee so fired would be “disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits.” Another bill would have allowed businesses to sue competitors that they believed to be employing undocumented immigrants for economic damages, plus $500 “for each such illegal alien employed by the defendant.”
In one case, Cuccinelli championed one of Trump’s most aggressive immigration policies before Trump himself did. In a 2008 bill, Cuccinelli urged Congress to call a constitutional convention to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “to clarify specifically that a person born to a parent who is a U. S. citizen is also a citizen of the United States,” to the exclusion of the children of undocumented immigrants who are born in the United States.
And this clown is now Trump's chief immigration law enforcement officer. Illegally, I might add. But who cares? Nothing is illegal anymore when Trump does it.