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Staunch anti-immigration supporter Ken Cuccinelli named to top immigration post

Questions surround U.S.-Mexico deal

An outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump's hardline immigration policies has been named acting director of the agency that manages legal immigration. Ken Cuccinelli will oversee U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Cuccinelli is a former Virginia attorney general and has advocated for denying citizenship to the American-born children of parents living in the U.S. illegally and for limiting in-state tuition at public universities to citizens or legal residents. Cuccinelli also served in the Virginia state Senate from 2002 to 2010 and has practiced law for nearly 25 years.

"I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at this critical time and serve alongside this agency's dedicated workforce," said Cuccinelli in a statement on Monday. 

"USCIS has the extraordinary responsibility to administer and protect the integrity of our nation's lawful immigration system. Our nation has the most generous legal immigration system in the world and we must zealously safeguard its promise for those who lawfully come here. I look forward to working with the men and women of USCIS to ensure our legal immigration system operates effectively and efficiently while deterring fraud and protecting the American people," he added. 

Cuccinelli's name has been mentioned for months to become part of the administration, including as possible Homeland Security secretary or as an immigration czar.

It's unclear if Mr. Trump will nominate Cuccinelli for the permanent position. That would require Senate confirmation, which could be difficult.

The position opened after Mr. Trump forced the resignation of Lee Francis Cissna, who Trump believed wasn't doing enough. Cissna said he worked "passionately." The latest immigration appointment comes as the administration continues its threats of tariff on Mexico should they renege on a new trade deal that offers the U.S. more assistance in keeping migrants from crossing the southern border. 

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