Hours after Chad Wolf was sworn as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, he named immigration hardliner and former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli as his deputy, NPR reports. The previous acting secretary, Kevin McAleenan, resigned in October just six months after replacing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was ousted in April.
Wolf has a long history with DHS, including helping to establish the Transportation Security Administration under President George W. Bush. He then left the government to work in lobbying, including for companies seeking to bring more foreign guest workers into the U.S. He elevated Cuccinelli from acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to what he called a “senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary of Homeland Security.” For years, Wolf maintained a relatively low profile — but that changed in June, when it emerged that he was the author of a memo for Nielsen, in which he listed options to deter migrants from surging toward the U.S. border with Mexico. Cuccinelli has embraced some of the president’s most controversial positions on immigration.