Ken Cuccinelli, a former Republican attorney general from the state of Virginia, who once held staunch anti-Trump views, is now being tapped by President Donald Trump to head an important position within the Department of Homeland Security.
Cuccinelli, who tried to block Trump’s nomination to head the Republican Party’s presidential ticket in 2016, has since come around on the commander-in-chief. Doing so has apparently landed him in Trump’s good graces, enough to land him a role as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), The Daily Beast reported.
“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,” Cuccinelli said in an email to the 19,000 employees he will oversee. “Together we will continue to work to stem the crisis at our southwest border.”
Cuccinelli will serve as an “acting” director of the agency. Trump’s preference not to nominate him in an official capacity may be due to the fact that he would face opposition by both parties within the Senate, including his own.
Man Who Wanted to End Birthright Citizenship & Militarize Border is Now Trump’s Immigration Chief https://t.co/nit38XokdR
— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 10, 2019
“He’s made a career of attacking other Republicans and frankly attacking President Trump, so I doubt he’ll have the support to get confirmed,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, per reporting from HuffPost.
That may not matter so much, however, due to the fact that Trump has a stated preference for not hiring people to permanent roles within his administration — allowing him to bypass the Senate confirmation process altogether, a move that brings problems about for those departments in particular.
There are other, more practical reasons to be concerned about Cuccinelli’s new role, however, mainly his extremely hawkish anti-immigration viewpoints that he’s held in the past.
The new acting director has, for example, pushed legal opinions that held law enforcement officers in his home state had the authority to arrest or detain any person they thought might be an immigrant based on “reasonable suspicion.” Cuccinelli pushed that view as attorney general of Virginia.
As a state senator, however, he went decidedly further. He authored a bill, for example, calling for the right of employer’s to fire anyone who didn’t speak English in the workplace. Any person fired for such reasoning, his bill asserted, could be denied unemployment benefits by the state.
He’s even gone so far as to push for a Constitutional change the 14th Amendment, ending birthright citizenship. Although Trump suggested he would do so with an executive order in 2018, Cuccinelli was ahead of his new boss’s thinking, proposing the change in the amendment in 2008.
It isn’t clear how long Cuccinelli’s “acting” role will last for. But for many who are aware of what this staunchly anti-immigration politician has previously promoted, its indefinite status is far too long.
Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.