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Immigration Law

Who's In Charge At USCIS?

Rebecca Rainey, Politico, Nov. 26, 2019

"Ken Cuccinelli is still acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, lawyers for the Trump administration said in a court filing Monday, even though USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans was designated to fill that position earlier this month, POLITICO’s Rebecca Rainey reports.

Koumans was expected to take over as acting USCIS director once Cuccinelli became de facto acting deputy to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (who replaced DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan). The filings indicate that Cuccinelli, who on Nov. 17 assumed DHS' number-two spot under the title "senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary,” will play both roles -- at least for the time being.

The occasion for clarification arose when advocacy groups updated a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's policy on immigration fee waivers. The plaintiffs, wanting to be up to date, put Koumans’ name on a revised filing. But government attorneys replied that this wasn’t necessary, because “Mr. Cuccinelli, in his official capacity as acting director, USCIS, remains the proper named party.”

USCIS, DHS, and the White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Let’s repeat that. POLITICO asked who is running USCIS, and neither the agency, nor the Cabinet department of which it’s a part, nor the White House was willing or able to answer."