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Cuccinelli’s Appointment Could Lead to Escalation of “Second Wall” Policies Against Citizenship and Turn USCIS Into an Enforcement Agency

WASHINGTON – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) strongly condemns the appointment  of Ken Cuccinelli as Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Cuccinelli is a former state senator and attorney general in Virginia who rose to and then fell from political power because of a long list of anti-immigrant, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ statements and positions.

Among his most inflammatory statements and positions are the following:

  • Comparing immigrants to rats, raccoons, and other animals while comparing immigration policy to pest control;
  • Calling for states to enforce immigration law and reject migrants and asylum seekers’ due process rights;
  • Sponsoring legislation that calls for ending birthright citizenship and prohibits immigrants from speaking any language other than English in their workplaces;
  • Taking a public stance against immigrant youth who grew up in the United States and otherwise meet residency requirements attending universities and receiving in-state tuition;
  • Engaging in sexist and dismissive behavior towards his female colleagues in media;
  • Consistently attacking LGBTQ communities, stating that homosexuality is “intrinsically wrong” and against “natural law” and that “the militant homosexual agenda generally threatens the stability of our families and our society;”
  • Pushing for anti-sodomy legislation that would criminalize oral sex between consenting adults of any sexual orientation; and
  • Cultivating strong ties to anti-Muslim, anti-semite, and white supremacist groups. 

With this move, the Trump Administration places a bigoted architect in charge of continuing to build the “Second Wall” of obstacles that have prevented eligible immigrants – especially low-income, working class, elderly, and disabled immigrants – from naturalizing; and places him in a position to further turn USCIS into an enforcement agency.

The legality of Cuccinelli’s appointment is also questionable. If left unchallenged, it would allow the administration to avoid a contentious confirmation process in the Senate, where Senators on both sides of the aisle have raised serious concerns about him.

NPNA and its members remain committed to tearing down the “Second Wall” of barriers to citizenship and mobilizing those eligible to apply for citizenship as soon as possible.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 10, 2019