Ken Cuccinelli floated as likely next DHS chief with McAleenan to step down

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers (USCIS) Appearing Director Ken Cuccinelli is being seen as a probable substitute for outgoing Division of Homeland Safety Appearing Secretary Kevin McAleenan, sources inform Fox Information — a transfer that may be welcomed by immigration hardliners.

President Trump on Friday introduced that McAleenan can be leaving the job to spend extra time along with his household, and added that the brand new appearing secretary can be introduced subsequent week.

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“Many great candidates,” he mentioned.

The announcement instantly led to hypothesis as to who would step into the important cupboard place — one that may be a central put up for the nation’s immigration coverage.

A former senior DHS official with shut ties to the administration advised Fox Information Friday that Cuccinelli is on the highest of Trump’s listing to be the following appearing secretary. The supply famous Senate affirmation listening to can be bruising for Cuccinelli however “he, [White House adviser] Steve Miller and Trump are all in sync on plenty of key insurance policies.

“They’ve been attempting to clear the best way for some time,” the supply mentioned.

If Trump doesn’t go together with Cuccinelli, the supply mentioned Trump could go together with former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — one other hardliner who has lengthy been floated for a potential administration place however is at the moment operating for the U.S. Senate.

One administration official advised Fox Information on Saturday that Cuccinelli was in “good standing” for the place.

“Ken has been very efficient on the regulatory facet and he has confirmed to be a workforce participant who will do each media hit regardless of how small or how hostile,” the official mentioned. “Ken is somebody who hands-down helps and defends the work of the president and the administration.”

Trump could face some resistance from Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has prior to now indicated his “lack of enthusiasm” for Cuccinelli. That might make getting Cuccinelli confirmed tough. Cuccinelli was beforehand president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which seeks to push extra conservative Senate candidates and was subsequently usually essential of McConnell and his allies.

“I’ve not spoken to [Trump] about any of them. I’ve expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one in every of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell advised reporters in April when Cuccinelli was floated to switch former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in response to The Hill.

A Cuccinelli decide would additionally face important opposition from Senate Democrats. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., declared Cuccinelli “unfit” to guide USCIS in August after outdated remarks emerged of the previous Virginia legal professional basic calling unlawful immigrants “overseas invaders.”

Nonetheless, a Cuccinelli decide can be welcomed by many conservatives, notably these targeted on immigration and who did not heat to McAleenan. As head of USCIS for the reason that summer season — an usually missed company that offers with bureaucratic points to do with inexperienced card purposes and citizenship requests — Cuccinneli put a hardline stamp on the company with insurance policies that picked up nationwide consideration.

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Maybe essentially the most placing of these modifications was the “public cost” rule that toughened and clarified steerage for officers as to when they need to deny inexperienced playing cards to immigrants deemed prone to depend on authorities welfare.

The rule outlined public cost as an immigrant who receives a number of designated advantages for greater than 12 months inside a 36-month interval. It additionally expanded the variety of advantages that might be thought-about. On Friday, nonetheless, the rule was dealt a setback when a federal decide issued a nationwide injunction blocking it from being applied.

“An goal judiciary will see that this rule lies squarely inside long-held present legislation,” Cuccinelli mentioned in response.

Along with public cost, Cuccinelli has additionally pushed plenty of important, and sometimes controversial, modifications. Buzzfeed Information reported final month that he sought the facility to publicize details about migrants being prosecuted for sure crimes. His company has additionally tightened guidelines for awarding work permits to immigrants allowed into the U.S. for humanitarian causes and has additionally minimize the two-day window between detention and interview to at least one.

He has additionally not shied away from the media glare and from wading into controversies when defending the administration, one thing that will endear him to the president.

In August, in defending the general public cost rule, he confronted questions from reporters that the general public cost rule was not consistent with Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” — a sonnet added to the underside of the Statue of Liberty that has grow to be identified for the line: “give me your drained and poor, your huddled lots craving to breathe free…”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers Appearing Director Ken Cuccinelli talks to Border Patrol brokers in Laredo, Texas. (Adam Shaw/Fox Information)

Requested individually concerning the poem’s reference to “wretched refuse,” Cuccinelli commented that the poem was “referring again to individuals coming from Europe the place they’d class-based societies the place individuals had been thought-about wretched in the event that they weren’t in the precise class.” That comment sparked controversy from figures from 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke to pop singer Rihanna.

Cuccinelli has used his Twitter account (which he operates himself) to problem the chief of Montgomery County, Md., to a debate over “sanctuary metropolis” insurance policies after a sequence of intercourse crimes allegedly perpetrated by unlawful immigrants.

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“I’ll defend youngsters and crime victims, Elrich can defend rapists and murders who shouldn’t even be on this nation,” he mentioned.

He has additionally supported using “unlawful aliens” to consult with unlawful immigrants in U.S. legislation, whilst McAleenan shied away from that time period. Measures like which have earned him a status that has endeared him to teams in favor of more durable restrictions on immigration.

“The selection is evident, he should elevate Ken Cuccinelli,” RJ Hauman, authorities relations director on the restrictionist Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), advised Politico. “The president understands that the opposition seeks to cease his efforts to safe the border and restore management over our nation’s immigration system by means of courtroom orders and injunctions. What higher drive to cease this than the previous legal professional basic of Virginia and one of the expert appellate legal professionals within the nation?”

Fox Information’ Leland Vittert contributed to this report.

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