While the media obsesses over Trump's white supremacist attacks on pro-immigrant American citizens of color, namely Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and four Democratic Congresswomen who have spoken out against the Trump administration's human rights violations against unauthorized immigrants, there has been much less focus in the media on what Trump is doing to impair or destroy America's legal immigration system

The center of this entire system is USCIS, which is responsible for granting most of the legal immigration benefits available under our immigration laws, including green cards and temporary visas in every category, ranging from EB-5 investors and highly skilled EB-1, H-1B and O-1 professional workers, to the unskilled workers such as the gardeners and waiters who work at Trump's resorts with temporary visas.

USCIS is also responsible for approving applications and petitions in every category of temporary and permanent family immigration. Any action that threatens the fairness and objectivity of decision-making in this agency is a body blow at the entire existence of legal immigration in America

This is why everyone who is concerned about the integrity and viability of legal immigration in America should be concerned that Trump is not the only powerful government official in charge of immigration who has been comparing brown immigrants to rodents who are "infesting" America, Trump's recent choice for USCIS director Ken Cuccinelli has been saying the same thing.

ThinkProgress reports (on April 11) that Cuccinelli made the following statement on a conservative radio show in 2012:

"[The D.C. wildlife protection policy] is worse than our immigration policy - you can't break up rat families Or raccoons or all the rest and you can't even kill them."


And in 2015, according to the same article, Cuccinelli appeared on another right wing radio show and made the following attack against primarily brown immigrants;'

"We're being invaded, right? One person at a time, we're being invaded...And the president [Obama, who deported more than 2 million immigrants in just eight years] isn't protecting us from invasion, he's encouraging the invasion, and he's doing it unconstitutionally."

And on June 11, the Center for American Progress sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing any attempt to confirm Cuccinelli as permanent USCIS director. The letter, which was also signed by numerous other immigrant rights and civil rights organizations, also listed many other instances of bigoted statements or proposals that Cuccinelli has made against brown immigrants, including, worst of all, his proposal to overturn the 14th amendment and abolish US birthright citizenship. The letter concludes:

"The Director of USCIS has the important role of overseeing our immigration system, from adjudicating the claims od individuals seeking asylum, petitioning for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas, and applyin for US citizenship. Cuccinelli has spent his career in and out of public office promoting anti-immigrant policies and propagating dehumanizing rhetoric and ideas. Cuccinelli's track record shows that id confirmed, he wold work to undermine the goals of the very agency he would be in charge of leading."

Since his appointment, Cuccunelli has also been acting as cheerleader for Trump in areas of immigration that are outside of USCIS's function, such as his recent boasting about the "million" immigrants who could be targeted by Trump's nationwide raids (which have yet to take place).

It is perfectly clear why Donald Trump appointed Cuccinelli as director of the agency which is primarily responsible for approving legal immigration petitions and applications and granting legal immigration benefits.

On can be quite sure that Cuccinelli was not put in this key position, at the heart of America's entire legal immigration system, in order to make the USCIS decision-making process any fairer, faster or easier.

This is certainly worth thinking about the next time an RFE comes down the line - in an H-1B, adjustment of status, EB-5, US citizenship, or any other case involving legal immigration benefits. With Cuccinelli in charge, we can expect even more numerous, and more hostile and argumentative, RFE's - and denial notices - for legitimate petitions and applications from now on.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law