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Judge Says Ken Cuccinelli Was Appointed Unlawfully To Top Immigration Post

Judge Says Ken Cuccinelli Was Appointed Unlawfully To Top Immigration Post

A Trump Administration official, Ken Cuccinelli, who was appointed to a lead immigration position was ruled unlawful by a United States federal judge. Several asylum rules that were directives under Cuccinelli were “set aside” as well. U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said the administration violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act when it tapped Cuccinelli in June 2019 to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which falls under The Depart of Homeland Security. Mr. Cuccinelli was a former attorney general of Virginia and a strong supporter of asylum restrictions. The first order shortened the amount of time asylum seekers had to bring forward "credible fear interviews" with officials from 48 or 72 hours to "one full calendar day from the date of arrival at a detention facility." Mr. Cuccinelli prohibited asylum officers from granting extensions to this new policy as another order "except in the most extraordinary of circumstances."

"On the merits, the Court concludes that Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as acting Director and that, as a result, he lacked authority to issue the reduced-time-to-consult and prohibition-on-extensions directives," U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss said. The 1998 vacancies law, when a Senate-confirmed leader of a federal office resigns, it falls to the "first assistant of that vacant office to assume responsibility on an acting basis.”

Mr. Cuccinelli didn't work at USCIS prior to his appointment so he wouldn't be in line for the position.. Instead, the acting head of DHS at the time, Kevin McAleenan, "appointed Cuccinelli' to serve as the Principal Deputy Director of [USCIS],' a position that did not exist prior to Cuccinelli's appointment," the judge noted. Then McAleenan changed the order of succession to make the principal deputy director the "first assistant," allowing Cuccinelli to "leapfrog" the existing deputy director to become the agency's acting director. "Here, the acting Secretary created a position that is second in command in name only," the judge wrote.

In an email by a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security they stated their disagreement with the ruling, "We obviously disagree with the court's decision and will be looking closely at the decision." The ruling brought various advocacy groups, on behalf of several asylum seekers to light. Under Cuccinelis orders, the asylum seekrs didn't have enough time to speak with lawyers and family members. A vocal supporter of President Trump, Cuccinelli made controversial comments in regards to the Statue of Liberties bronze plaque for immigrants. His rendition was, "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

Whether you have entered the United States by legal or illegal means, you could still be afforded protection if you qualify for asylum. Asylum protects individuals who have come to the United States due to a legitimate fear of persecution in their home country. If you can demonstrate that your fear is credible, you may be able to come under this type of legal protection. Visit welcomelawfirm.com for more.

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