Cuccinelli, recently appointed by Trump, is known for his anti-immigrant stance.
A coalition of immigration and civil rights groups has sent a letter to the Department of Justice expressing strong opposition to the appointment of new United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acting head Ken Cuccinelli.
In the letter, the coalition called the appointment illegal and demanded that he be removed immediately. Among signatories are leaders of Democracy Forward, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice (LA), Asian Counseling and Referral Services, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Muslim Advocates, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.
The letter calls Cuccinelli’s appointment unlawful and says, “It casts a shadow over everything he or USCIS does to administer the nation’s lawful immigration system. Immigrants and non-immigrants alike deserve better.”
The signatories said that the appointment has created uncertainty around the country’s immigration policies.
Earlier this May, after the former USCIS head Lee Francis Cissna resigned, it was the Deputy Director Mark Koumans, the highest ranking official at USCIS, who should have assumed the acting head role until someone else was nominated and confirmed by the senate. However, even though the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to block Cuccinelli’s appointment, President Trump went out of his way to install a new office and appoint Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli, whose views have been termed extremely anti-immigrant, has been using his authority “illegally,” according to the signatories.
The coalition stated that since his appointment, Cuccinelli has reduced the amount of time applicants have to prepare for their asylum interviews. He has also allegedly pressurized USCIS line officers to apply harsher standards when seeking asylum claims.
Cuccinelli has been known for his anti-immigrant rhetoric and has in the past passed objectionable remarks, such as blaming the father of a 23-year-old girl who was drowned on the banks of Rio Grande last month in June, the letter said. As the Virginia Attorney General, Cuccinelli had once said: “The D.C. ordinance that doesn’t let animal-control workers kill rats is worse than U.S. immigration policy because, “You can’t break up rat families.”