Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan announced that Kenneth T. (Ken) Cuccinelli will serve as the new acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), effective June 10, 2019.  Former USCIS Director Francis Cissna stepped down earlier this month.

It is unclear if Mr. Cuccinelli will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate given his hardline views on immigration as well as opposition from top Republicans (click here and here).  It is also unclear how he was named “acting” director of USCIS under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. It appears that possibly the role Mr. Cuccinelli will take is that of “principal deputy director” instead of “acting director,” and that the “principal” role will in fact be the top role at USCIS. This in an effort to bypass sending Mr. Cuccinelli’s name to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.

Clearly this is a developing story, although the announcement does signal a hardline on immigration at the highest levels within USCIS.