Acting Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli was chosen for his role because Donald Trump and staff were convinced that he would take the sort of cruel, aggressive actions against migrants and refugees that even Trump’s prior appointees had balked at. And Cuccinelli, a longtime denizen of the far, far right of his party, has been going out of his way to assert himself as new administration spokesman for that new cruelty. Last week, Cuccinelli took to the Sunday shows to assert that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was “ready” to begin Trump’s threatened roundup of undocumented longtime residents and families.
He returned this Sunday to, apparently, re-emphasize that the new Trump team gives not a single damn about the outrage against Trump’s insisted-upon “roundups.” Asked by State of the Union host Jake Tapper whether he could “guarantee” children taken in during the newly aggressive raids would not be separated from their parents, Cuccinelli did his best to elevate, rather than downplay, the possibility.
“That would be an operational detail that I’m not going to comment on,” he replied. Pressed further, he claimed, “I’m not going to say Yes or No to anything like that because then certain people out there can write themselves off the list, or find a way to play a loophole. And the loopholes in our legal system are what we’ve been screaming to be fixed.”
He could tell you the criteria the government uses to determine when not to take your children, you see, but if he did, people might exploit that “loophole” to … keep their children?
What’s a bit puzzling about this is that USCIS acting director Cuccinelli isn’t in charge of ICE, a separate agency within the Department of Homeland Security, and is not one of the all-“acting” ICE officials you might expect to be in the loop on “operational details” to begin with. Cuccinelli seems to be making the Sunday show rounds primarily in an effort at self-promotion; by being a regular face on Donald Trump’s television, he may be angling for a job higher up the food chain. Or he may simply be just that excited to talk about the long-sought Republican dream of mass deportations.