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Acting USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli. Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told Axios' Mike Allen Thursday morning that birthright citizenship should be limited to the children of legal immigrants — although he doesn't expect any action on the issue any time soon.

The big picture: Cuccinelli declined to say whether he wants the Homeland Security secretary position or if acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan should get it permanently. "Answering questions like that creates news that shouldn't exist," he said. He said Trump has not approached him about the position, and that he will do his job aggressively.

On the Bahamas: When asked why temporary protections weren't given to Bahamians to allow them to stay in the U.S. given the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian, Cuccinelli blamed the courts for interfering.

  • Federal courts have stopped the administration from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from places such as El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan.
  • Cuccinelli said that until the program was back in executive control, he doesn't see the administration being able to issue new protections.
  • He added that the U.S. government is providing humanitarian support in other ways to the Bahamas.

On court rulings: Cuccinelli praised the Supreme Court's latest ruling, which allows immigration officials to deny asylum to migrants who do not apply for asylum first in a country they've travelled through.

  • He said he expected it to help with large backlog of asylum cases.
  • "They're clogging up the system so we can't get people with legitimate asylum claims, and they're hoping to get released into the interior."

The bottom line: Cuccinelli expressed frustration at the slew of lawsuits the administration has faced over its immigration policies. "Anything we've done since I've been in office ... there's been a strong legal foundation there," he said.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."