Cuccinelli Named Acting Director of USCIS

President Trump has named Ken Cuccinelli the Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In this role, Cuccinelli will oversee the agency responsible for administering the immigration policies of the U.S.

Cuccinelli began serving as Acting Director on June 10 and is expected to take a hardline approach on immigration policy. He will likely focus initially on the growing number of immigrants seeking asylum at the border between the U.S. and Mexico. He is expected to also continue the current increased scrutiny of H-1B visa usage.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently has a proposed rule being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to rescind the ability of the spouses of H-1B holders from eligibility for employment in the U.S. DHS is also considering issuing proposed rules on increasing the fees associated with H-1B and other visas. The naming of Cuccinelli likely means the Department will continue to move forward on these and other proposals to tighten the use of work visas.

Administration officials have floated the possibility of Trump nominating Cuccinelli to be the permanent Director of USCIS. However, following his departure from public office, Cuccinelli has been critical of several Republican Senators and assisted primary challengers. Senior Republican Senators now have stated concerns about the chances of Cuccinelli being confirmed should he be formally nominated. President Trump decided instead to nominate Cuccinelli in an acting capacity but still has the option of formally nominating him.

Cuccinelli served several years in the Virginia Senate starting in 2002 before being elected Attorney General of Virginia, beginning his term in 2010. He then ran unsuccessfully in 2013 for Governor of Virginia. Cuccinelli most recently served as Director of Regulatory Action Center of FreedomWorks, the conservative advocacy foundation based in Washington, DC.

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