Racist Immigration Chief Blames Drowned Father For His Child's Death

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront
Screenshot: CNN

The Trump administration has always eagerly blamed the deaths of immigrants desperate to the flee conditions of their home countries on themselves, and Ken Cuccinelli has fallen right in line.

Speaking to host Erin Burnett on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront on Thursday evening, Ken Cuccinelli, a man who fell up the Trump ladder and became the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in May, had several disgusting things to say about Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramirez, whom the Associated Press photographed having drowned in the Rio Grande river with his daughter Angie Valeria.

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Cuccinelli unsurprisingly blamed the father for their deaths, saying that he didn’t want to wait to go through the asylum process legally. Metering across the border, however, has extended wait times for Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy requiring migrants not from Mexico to stay in shelters in the country for their turn to present themselves to the U.S. for asylum, with some people reporting that their date is up to a year out. The policy was originally expected to take 45 days, but Martinez’s family said he was there for two to three months.

“The reason we have tragedies like that on the border is because those folks, that father didn’t want to wait to go through the asylum process in the legal fashion, so [he] decided to cross the river,” Cuccinelli said when Burnett asked him if the photo of the family would represent Trump’s border policies. (The segment of the family begins at the 5:44 mark in the clip below.)

“Until we fix the attractions in our asylum system, people like that father and that child are going to continue to come through a dangerous trip,” Cuccinelli continued, saying that families like Martínez’s will pay coyotes, smugglers hired by desperate families to take them through Central America and Mexico to get them to the U.S. “Let’s not kid ourselves about how dangerous a trip that our laws as they stand now are attracting these people into, and that tragedy will only end when Congress finally fixes these loopholes.”

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Cuccinelli’s comments, while disgusting, are completely in line for someone who has previously compared immigrants to rats, had proposed a policy against birthright citizenship as a state senator, and has argued that border states should invoke “war powers” against an “invasion” of migrants.

“They can literally just line their National Guard up with, presumably with riot gear like they would if they had a civil disturbance and turn people back at the border,” Cuccinelli, a former Virginia Attorney General who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2013, said last year on a Breitbart radio show. “Literally, you don’t have to keep them, no catch and release, no nothing. You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it.”

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You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it.

You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it.

You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it.

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About the author

Samantha Grasso

Splinter Staff Writer, Texan