Matt Rourke / AP
- Ken Cuccinelli has been in the media this week after announcing a rule limiting green cards for migrants, using housing vouchers, Medicaid, and other public assistance. And for reimagining Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statute of Liberty.
- On Saturday, CNN published a story about Cuccineli’s history of framing migrants as invaders, as well as his membership of a group that said migrants were responsible for diseases, drug running, gang violence, and terrorism.
- He’s criticized two former presidents — George W. Bush and Barack Obama —for their role in allowing unauthorized immigrants into the US.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
When it comes to immigration, Ken Cuccinelli’s favorite word might just be "invaded."
Cuccinelli, President Donald Trump’s acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, has been waging a war against undocumented immigrants, at least with his rhetoric, since 2007, CNN reported Saturday.
He’s been in the media a lot this week due to a rule he announced that will limit green cards for immigrants using, or deemed likely to use, public benefits such as food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid.
Cuccinelli also sparked outrage for reimagining Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statute of Liberty, changing the words from "give me your tired, your poor," to, "who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."
But he’s been vehemently anti-immigrant for a lot longer. He was a founding member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, which was established in 2007, according to CNN. The organization tried to invoke war powers under the Constitution on the basis that undocumented immigrants were "invading" the US like a foreign army.
According to its website, the group formed to serve as a "unifying force to bring all levels of government together to terminate America’s illegal alien invasion."
He said he wanted to use ‘war powers’ to stop migrants
In 2007, the group sent a letter to then-President George W. Bush citing Article 4 of the Constitution, concerning government’s role guaranteeing every state is protected against "INVASION."
The letter said, "The illegal alien invasion must be terminated to protect Americans from increasingly documented incidences of homicide, identity theft, property theft, serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism and the growing cost to taxpayers."
Again in 2014, this time in Texas, when thousands of children were arriving at the border, Cuccinelli said the state was being "invaded" and that then-Gov. Rick Perry should be allowed to enter treaties and wage war against children coming from Central America.
The following year, in March 2015, he said on the radio that then-President Barack Obama was encouraging an invasion, according to CNN.
AP"We’re being invaded, right? One person at a time, we’re being invaded. And the president isn’t protecting us from invasion, he’s encouraging the invasion, and he’s doing it unconstitutionally."
In an interview with Breitbart in 2018, he said the US had been invaded for a long time. Again, he wanted to use "war powers" to stop the migrants, which would mean no permission was necessary.
"When someone comes across your border without your permission, it’s an invasion. Their purpose here is to violate the border, to violate our sovereignty, for their own purposes. That’s an invasion."
In June 2019, he was controversially appointed acting director of USCIS, the agency that administers much of the country’s immigration system.
At the time, the head of a union representing USCIS employees said his appointment would spell of the end of "legal immigration as it currently exists," The Hill reported.
Read the full story from CNN here.
- Trump’s acting immigration chief introduced legislation as a state senator that would have allowed companies to fire employees who didn’t speak English
- Trump’s top immigration official Ken Cuccinelli says the Statue of Liberty poem refers to ‘people coming from Europe,’ and some Democrats are saying it’s a racist dog whistle
- Trump’s top immigration official reimagined the Statue of Liberty poem to argue the US should welcome only immigrants ‘who can stand on their own 2 feet’