U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli is being seen as a likely replacement for outgoing Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan—a move that would be welcomed by immigration hardliners, Fox News reports. One administration official told Fox News on Saturday that Cuccinelli, a former Virginia Attorney General, was in “good standing” for the position.
President Donald Trump on Friday announced that McAleenan would be leaving the job to spend more time with his family, and added that the new acting secretary would be announced next week. Acrimony between Cuccinelli and leading GOP senators would be a major obstacle to his confirmation, the Washington Post reports.
If Trump doesn’t go with Cuccinelli, a source told Fox News that Trump may go with former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — another hardliner who has long been floated for a possible administration position, but is currently running for the U.S. Senate. Trump’s pick to replace McAleenan will be the fifth DHS chief in less than three years.
McAleenan had become increasingly frustrated with a cadre of Trump’s appointments to senior immigration roles, and was struggling to control the messaging coming out of his department.