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Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has started work as the acting director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency that runs all legal immigration in our great land of white people who belong here and others who somehow made it in anyway. Cooch had been rumored to be on his way to an appointment as Trump's "immigration czar," but instead will take over as acting head of one more agency in the Department of Homeland Security, which has been filled with temps since the great DHS purge earlier this year.

Cuccinelli issued a statement promising to Git Tuff on legal immigrants, because America has been far too nice to people foolish enough to buy that bullshit about this being a nation of immigrants:


USCIS has the extraordinary responsibility to administer and protect the integrity of our nation's lawful immigration system. Our nation has the most generous legal immigration system in the world and we must zealously safeguard its promise for those who lawfully come here. I look forward to working with the men and women of USCIS to ensure our legal immigration system operates effectively and efficiently while deterring fraud and protecting the American people.

Sure sure, yes yes. More ominously, Buzzfeed News reporter Hamed Aleaziz got hold of an internal USCIS email sent to all staff, outlining the agency's direction under the New Boss, who clearly sounds like he's out to bark at anyone Stephen Miller tells him to. The friendly greeting to career staff makes clear Cooch sees USCIS's mission as immigration prevention.

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. Together we will continue to work to stem the crisis at our southwest border [...]

We will also work to find longterm solutions to close asylum loopholes that encourage many to make the dangerous journey into the United States so that those who truly need humanitarian protections and meet the criteria under the law receive them.

Keep in mind that "asylum loopholes" is Trumpspeak for pretty much any and all policies that allow people into the USA, because all asylum applicants are cheats, even worse cheats than a casino developer with a tax assessment. That goes back to Jeff Sessions's attempt to rescind asylum for people fleeing domestic violence and gangs in their home countries, which has since been blocked by a federal judge.

Here's a short -- and probably incomplete -- list of all the things Trump and Miller think are "loopholes" in the asylum process:

In addition, Miller and Trump want to impose fees on asylum applications, because that'll learn the lazy takers fleeing violence, Ha! Ha! In addition, they'd like to have border patrol agents handle initial asylum screenings instead of leaving that to trained asylum officers, because letting cops be judges worked out so well for Judge Dredd.

Cooch has a delightful history of taking a Trumpian line on immigration and immigrants as ThinkProgress points out. He unfavorably compared undocumented immigrants to rats and other vermin in 2012, and in 2015 said undocumented immigrants are actually part of an INVADING ARMY, because Barack Obama signed DACA:

"We're being invaded, right? One person at a time, we're being invaded," he said. "And the president isn't protecting us from invasion, he's encouraging the invasion, and he's doing it unconstitutionally."

Also, since Cuccinelli is serving in an acting capacity, that means he won't need to face Senate confirmation until Trump actually nominates him to the post. Or maybe that's "unless," since as Politico reports, Cuccinelli's attacks on other Republicans, particularly Mitch McConnell, don't bode well for his chances.

"It seems to me to be very difficult [to confirm him], based upon what I have read that McConnell says. I get the opinion that McConnell is not going to bring it up," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said. "So if McConnell's not going to bring it up, it ain't going to come up."

That doesn't seem like any deterrent to Cooch being the temp in charge of immigration for the rest of Trump's term, though. After all, as Politico also points out, Thomas Homan was acting director of ICE for a year and a half. That's likely to be the norm at Homeland Security, which hardly has any Senate-confirmed agency heads at all. The agency itself is headed by an acting director, Kevin McAleenan, and with Cooch's new position, all these DHS agencies now have acting heads, too:

  • ICE
  • USCIS
  • Border Patrol
  • FEMA
  • Transportation Security Agency

In fact, out of the really well-known DHS subdivisions, only the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, and the Border Patrol's parent agency, US Customs and Border Protection, actually have confirmed agency heads -- and that's only because McAleenan is still formally the CBP commissioner while he's also acting DHS secretary.

So congratulations to Ken Cuccinelli on his new temp job. Maybe the entire DHS could be streamlined by just having Kelly or Manpower send over some people to work at minimum wage.

[Think Progress / Politico / Hamed Aleaziz on Twitter / Photo by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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