A Trump administration official claimed there may be a way to end birthright citizenship without a constitutional amendment.
Speaking at the Monitor Breakfast, Acting United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said he did “not think you need an amendment to the Constitution” to change the measure, Christian Science Monitor reports.
“I think the question is, do you need congressional action or can the executive act on their own?” he asked.
“Presuming that that law is found to be as illegal as President Obama said it was over 20 times before he signed it, then it departs the legal world,” he continued. “And those people will be in the position as they are today. They’re here illegally under whatever circumstances they may have come. They will join the ranks of millions of people in that circumstance.”
Cuccinelli said he did prefer Congress to act on the issue.
“But I rather expect to see some discussion at the congressional-presidential level over that. I think the president has already sort of publicly signaled that he’s willing to do that, as have members of Congress on both sides of the aisle,” he told those in attendance.
Christian Science Monitor reports:
On what happens to DACA recipients if Congress and White House can’t reach a deal:
“Well, then they’re in the same pool as the – if M.I.T. is correct – the 22 million people who are here illegally. They don’t have any orders against them, but they’re not here with legal presence and they’re under the same legal potential as others in that state.”
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On why the Trump administration is restricting access to legal immigration at a time when the U.S. economy needs more workers:
“This last fiscal year, we naturalized more citizens than in the entire last decade….
“The president has made no secret of the fact that he believes the American immigration system, first and foremost, is set up to work for America. That means economically and for the people here, and to do that, we put out invitations and offerings to people from around the world, along the lines that Congress puts in the law.
Cuccinelli is reportedly in consideration to become the next Homeland Security Secretary after current acting secretary Kevin McAleenan announced his resignation on Friday.
Cuccinelli also used his time at the breakfast to campaign for the Homeland Security Secretary position—flaunting his record at the USCIS.
“I led the Senate Conservatives Fund, not one of his favorite organizations, which may be the understatement of the breakfast so far,” Cuccinelli said, referencing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “But his concerns were political. And I don’t know how he would answer, but I think an objective observer would note that I haven’t engaged in any of that political realm since I’ve taken this role.”
“In terms of pursuing the president’s agenda, we’ve been doing a good job at USCIS,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “That’s what I would ask those folks to be judging me on.”
Christian Science Monitor reports:
USCIS deals with legal immigration, and has stirred controversy with new rules that would limit access to visas and legal residency permits known as green cards. One rule, issued in August, expanded the definition of “public charge” – that is, forms of public assistance that could exclude an applicant from receiving a green card. That rule was due to go into effect Oct. 15, but was blocked temporarily Oct. 11 by federal judges.
“To a certain extent, we intended to send the message that we expect self-sufficiency among family and employment immigrants,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “It doesn’t apply in the humanitarian space to refugees and asylees and so forth.”
“It is telling to see some of the language of some of the judges,” Mr. Cuccinelli said. “I mean, it reads more like a hotly written op-ed by a political activist than a legal decision by a neutral arbiter.”