Sep 18, 2019

Cuccinelli asks for power to release info on refugees accused of crimes

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli sent a memo to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan earlier this month requesting the authority to publicize personal information about refugees and asylum seekers accused of crimes, Buzzfeed News' Hamed Aleaziz reports.

Why it matters: Only the DHS secretary currently has the power to release information about asylum seekers and refugees being prosecuted. Cuccinelli has become one of the loudest immigration hardliners in the administration, and as USCIS director, has already rolled out a series of regulations cracking down on immigrants and asylum seekers.

"[T]he Acting Director requested the same authority in order to educate the America public, lawmakers, and media about the dangerous criminals who came to the United States by abusing our legal immigration system.”
— A USCIS spokesperson told Buzzfeed News

The big picture: While he oversees the agency that deals with the legal immigration system, Cuccinelli has defended Trump border policies and raids on unauthorized immigrants — issues more relevant to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

  • This wouldn't be the first time Cuccinelli has tried to broaden his powers, either. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Cuccinelli demanded that ICE turn over control of the the student visa program.

Go deeper: Cuccinelli tells Axios that birthright citizenship should be limited

Go deeper

Kevin McAleenan to step down as acting Homeland Security secretary

Kevin McAleenan delivers remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations on Sept. 23, 2019. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday evening that acting Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan will leave his position and move into "the private sector" after 6 months in the role.

The big picture: Trump has been wary of McAleenan, whom he associates with the Obama administration, officials told Axios in August. McAleenan, the former commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, took over the acting role following Kirstjen Nielsen’s abrupt resignation.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 12, 2019

Migrants battling serious illness can again get temporary deportation protection

Immigrants Mariela, Jonathan, who has cysic fibrosis, and Gary Sanchez after a press conference on the termination of medical deferred action. Photo: Nic Antaya/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Immigrants battling serious illnesses in the U.S. can again receive temporary protection from deportation from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), according to a Department of Homeland Security email sent to House Oversight Committee members on Thursday.

Why it matters: USCIS stopped accepting applications for the medical deferred action program last month. Reports of immigrants battling life-threatening illnesses who might have been forced to leave the country sparked outcry from lawmakers and the public. The email to Oversight Committee members said that acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan directed USCIS to reinstate the program.

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019

Trump lowering the number of refugees permitted into U.S. to 18,000

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration is proposing to cut the number of refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. next year to just 18,000 — down from a record-low of 30,000 last year, according to a State Department press release on Thursday.

Why it matters: The administration also plans to prioritize refugees who have been persecuted for religious beliefs, Iraqis who have helped the U.S. overseas, and legitimate refugees from Northern Triangle countries, per the release. This would be the fourth time the Trump administration lowered the refugee cap, and it had reportedly discussed lowering it to zero. There are more displaced people in the world today than at any point since World War II, according to the United Nations.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019