Donald Trump has installed far-right Christian fundamentalist stalwart Ken Cuccinelli as acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. Cuccinelli, a former Attorney General of Virginia and failed Republican candidate for governor of the Old Dominion, was appointed to his present position with the strong backing of Trump’s immigration policy adviser, Stephen Miller.
Cuccinelli is in charge of granting visas to the thousands of asylum-seekers, including parents and their children, now interned in facilities across the United States. Cuccinelli is a fierce opponent of granting visas to those fleeing political persecution and armed paramilitary groups in Central America. He is also an opponent of granting green cards and citizenship to non-white applicants.
Cuccinelli has come up on WMR’s radar screen in the past. In 2013, we reported, “Former neighbors of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia, paint a picture of a confrontational individual who was always spoiling for a fight, whether as the Sully region representative on the Advisory Committee for the Fairfax County Public Schools Social Studies curriculum or as the self-designated gauleiter of his North Riding community in Fairfax County in suburban Washington, DC.”
Cuccinelli, who menaced many children who lived in his neighborhood near Dulles International Airport, can now do the same to thousands of children incarcerated in makeshift prison camps and in dubious children’s and foster homes managed by Christian fundamentalist extremists. From our 2013 report: “WMR spoke to Cuccinelli’s North Riding neighbors who stated the father of seven often accused other neighborhood children of pranks and minor vandalism without proof. Cuccinelli also used his position as a Fairfax School System adviser to push for historical revisionism in school texts to reflect his beliefs in creationism, European manifest destiny in the “New World,” and global climate change as ‘junk science’ . . . Cuccinelli often banged on neighbors’ doors in North Riding, even late at night, to complain about their children’s activities in the neighborhood. One resident threatened to ‘punch out’ Cuccinelli if he ever knocked on his door again . . . One man who tangled with Cuccinelli said, ‘he’s fucking nuts!’”
Eventually, Cuccinelli moved away from suburban North Riding and to increased isolation in rural Nokesville in Prince William County.
While Cuccinelli tried to alter high school history and social studies curriculum, his children were home-schooled by his wife, Teiro Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli’s five daughters and two sons began attending Roman Catholic parochial school after the sixth grade in Virginia public schools.
As a member of the Virginia Senate and Attorney General, Cuccinelli adopted anti-gay rights, anti-immigration, anti-oral and anal sex, anti-environmental, anti-abortion, and anti-sex education stances. Cuccinelli also altered the seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia on his lapel pins by covering the Roman goddess Virtus’s left bare breast with a metallic plate.
Our 2013 report contained a prophetic warning. Referring to Cuccinelli’s ardent Tea Party supporters, we wrote: “[they] have other lofty plans for the late night door-banging neighbor from hell.”
Because Cuccinelli would face certain defeat in the Senate if Trump formally nominates him as USCIS director, Miller arranged for him to receive an acting appointment as “principal deputy director” of USCIS. This move permits Cuccinelli to serve as acting director under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. In essence, the Trump continuing criminal enterprise has figured out it can appoint as many extremists as its likes to temporary positions to avoid the hurdles of constitutionally-required Senate confirmation. Therefore, in addition to USCIS, acting officials are now in charge at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).