President Donald Trump is weighing the appointment of ultraconservative Ken Cuccinelli as head of the agency in charge of managing the country’s legal immigration system, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Cuccinelli would replace as director of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, in English) L. Francis Cissna, a career official with extensive experience in immigration law.
Cissna survived the recent purge within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, in English) despite advisers close to the president, Donald Trump, had pressed for his departure, according to the capital’s newspaper.
However, Cissna then received the support of various Republican senators who convinced Trump to keep him in office.
Cuccinelli was the attorney general of the state of Virginia between 2010 and 2014, when he lost by a narrow margin the governor’s election against the Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
In 2014, Cuccinelli encouraged a wave of conservative candidates in the Republican primary to challenge the power of the device, which cost him the enmity of Senate leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers.
In fact, when Cuccinelli sounded like a possible DHS secretary, McConnell told the White House his opposition.
“I have expressed my, I should say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them (candidate for secretary), Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters, whose support is necessary to confirm the appointments of the White House in the Upper House.
Trump presented last week a plan to reform the legal immigration system in which his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been working for months.
The plan includes changes to the asylum system to admit only “legitimate” claims and a points system to grant more residence permits based on professional “merit” and less for family ties of immigrants.
“We will give more points for being a young worker, having valuable knowledge and an offer of employment and an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs” in the United States, in addition to converting the level of English and “citizenship” into two indispensable reuirements, the president explained.
The plan aims to increase the proportion of immigrants who obtain permanent residence due to their talent, their studies or their work, from 57% to 57%, while those who attain this status through family ties are reduced from 66% to 33%.
It also seeks to reduce the volume of people who obtain the “green card” for humanitarian reasons or for the promotion of diversity from the current 22% to 10%.