Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Andrew Restuccia and Anita Kumar on Politico report that White House officials have said that President Trump Trump was planning to tap Ken Cuccinelli, former Attorney General of Virginia and immigration hardliner, for a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security, though his exact responsibilities and title remain unclear. The rumor is raising questions about how Cuccinelli would fit into the White House’s decision-making process on immigration policy.
Cuccinelli had previously been mentioned as a candidate for an immigration “czar” position the White House has considered to help coordinate border policy across federal departments and agencies. Another candidate for that job, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, fell out of favor after The New York Times reported he had issued a list of demands that would need to be met before he’d accept the job.
Tapping Cuccinelli would seem to underscore Trump’s continued impatience with his administration’s progress on implementing hardline immigration policies that led to the recent ouster of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other senior DHS officials.
As a Senator in the Virginia legislature, Cuccinelli introduced bills urging the U.S. Congress to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to revoke birthright citizenship, to allow businesses to sue others that hire undocumented immigrants, and to establish inability to speak English in the workplace as cause for disqualification to receive unemployment benefits.
Cuccinelli himself compared immigration reform to DC's pest control rules, saying, "[I]t is worse than our immigration policy. You can't break up rat families. Or raccoons, and all the rest, and you can't even kill 'em. It's unbelievable."