On June 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced that Ken Cuccinelli would be assuming the role of Acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There is no consensus as to whether President Trump will confirm this assignment, as doing so then would require the U.S. Senate to confirm the appointment.

Background – Education and Experience

Cuccinelli received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia and a Master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. He also successfully completed a J.D. program at the George Mason School of Law.

Cuccinelli is no stranger to the field of politics. In 2002, he was elected to the Virginia senate; in the years following, he launched two successful re-election campaigns. From 2010 to 2014, Cuccinelli served as the Attorney General of Virginia. In 2013, he ran for Governor of Virginia while maintaining his position as attorney general. His campaign proved unsuccessful, when he lost the bid to Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. After this failure, he accepted various political assignments, including the role of an advisor in Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Political Controversy and Stance on Immigration

Cuccinelli has received ample criticism from Democrats concerning his anti-immigration stance and consistent support of President Trump’s controversial and restrictive immigration policies. Republicans, too, have spoken out against his becoming Acting Director of the USCIS. As the former head of both the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Conservative Victory Fund, Cuccinelli openly criticized Senate GOP leadership, which has contributed to his current unpopularity among party leaders.


While Cuccinelli is clearly an educated prospect, it remains uncertain as to whether he will attain a permanent position as USCIS Director. For the time being, Cuccinelli’s support of President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies certainly is a cause for concern.

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