Ken Cuccinelli is an illegitimate agency director who has wasted no time implementing a number of devastating policies at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and now a new lawsuit launched on behalf of a number of asylum-seekers argues that because he “lacks the authority to serve as acting director … any directives he issues in that capacity are therefore invalid.”
From the day he was handpicked by Donald Trump in June to lead an agency that’s supposed to help facilitate legal immigration even though he once compared immigrants to rats, advocates have argued “that Cuccinelli’s appointment violated a federal law governing which officials can be picked to lead agencies on an acting or interim basis.”
This new lawsuit, “filed by Democracy Forward and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. on behalf of seven asylum-seekers and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services,” argues that Cuccinelli “does not satisfy the legal requirements to serve as the director under Federal Vacancies Reform Act (‘FVRA’) and the Constitution,” and because of that, a number of his decisions are also illegitimate.
Among those decisions is a move to fast-track the initial screenings of asylum-seekers from 48 hours to just a “full calendar day,” which could result in them failing that screening because they’ve had less time to prepare for their interview or to try to seek out a lawyer’s help. USCIS has more recently moved to end deportation relief for people undergoing lifesaving medical treatment, which would no doubt mean death for many.
Trump officials can claim whatever they like about why they’ve implemented these policies, but the end goal is clear: It’s to keep immigrants and other vulnerable people out, and Cuccinelli has been an eager participant in this plan, including going on TV to prop up Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids even though they have nothing to do with his job. “When USCIS’s policies act to stymie our legal immigration system rather than facilitate it, all of us suffer,” a former USCIS director warned last month.
Cuccinelli should never have been in the position in the first place, and the reason he wasn’t officially nominated is that this goofball is so extreme that his nomination would fail, even in this Republican Senate. He—and his policies—need to go. Said Democracy Forward executive director Anne Harkavy, “These unlawful directives issued by an unlawfully appointed official punish asylum seekers fleeing persecution and undermine American values.”