President Donald Trump has consistently worked to undercut the Constitutional demand for Senate review of presidential appointments via tapping people for “acting” positions. These “acting” positions are supposed to be temporary, but Trump’s repeatedly kept these people on for as long as he saw fit — without Senate review or approval. Now, this weekend, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss has abruptly ruled against one such appointment, insisting that Ken Cuccinelli’s appointment as acting chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) violated the law.
As an implication of that ruling, the judge has voided policies that Cuccinelli has imposed while in charge, including one “that gave asylum-seekers less time to consult with legal counsel before their initial “credible fear” interview with a USCIS officer,” Axios notes.
Cuccinelli has become infamous for viral moments like his mockery of the poem at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, which exhorts observers to send their “masses” yearning “to be free” to the United States. In an attempted defense of restrictive asylum policies, Cuccinelli insisted that the poem was meant to refer to Europeans. In other words, he gave up trying to hide the racism.
Cuccinelli’s not exactly pristine past also includes a bizarrely unhinged tirade in which he compared immigration to pest control. Complaining about supposedly too lenient pest control plans, he railed:
‘So, anyway, it is worse than our immigration policy. You can’t break up rat families. Or raccoons, and all the rest, and you can’t even kill ‘em. It’s unbelievable.’
So — does he want to kill immigrants and their families, then? In response to Moss’s ruling against Cuccinelli’s appointment, Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy shared:
‘Today’s ruling is a big win that confirms Ken Cuccinelli’s installation and service as acting director of USCIS was unlawful. This is both a victory for the rule of law and a significant blow to the Trump administration’s xenophobic agenda.’
In his 55 page ruling, Moss insisted:
‘[T]he President must obtain “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” before appointing any principal officer of the United States… This requirement is “more than a matter of ‘etiquette or protocol’; it is among the significant structural safeguards of the constitutional scheme.”’
Cuccinelli has helped implement a very Trumpian scheme while in his current position. The Trump administration has dramatically slashed opportunities for asylum, excluding those who’ve first traveled through certain other countries and more. Recently, another federal court actually ruled against one of these draconian Trump asylum policies, which included a plan to send asylum seekers to Mexico to await their cases winding through the U.S. system.
On his own time, Trump has certainly kept up the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policy. Recently, he’s even suggested closing the southern border for the supposed reason of dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak. However, there’s not a shred of apparent evidence suggesting that closing that border would have any affect on the spread of the virus, which sprung up in China. Apparently, President Trump just doesn’t want to let an opportunity slip by to flaunt his racism.