Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli may fit right in with the Trump immigration team in his anticipated role as an immigration policy coordinator. This feels especially true given some comments Cuccinelli made in 2018 on the Central American migrant caravans, which Media Matters unearthed on Thursday.
Cuccinelli, who has compared U.S. immigration policy to rat infestations and proposed policy against birthright citizenship as a state senator, suggested in October that border states combat incoming migrant caravans from Central America by using “war powers” against the “invasion.” Mind you, the people coming from Central America via the caravan were fleeing violence and persecution.
Cuccinelli shared these comments on a Breitbart radio show (of course) on October 23. Media Matters reported that Breitbart shared Cuccinelli’s interview and a partial transcript of the interview at the time.
From the transcript, emphasis mine:
First of all, we’ve been being invaded for a long time and so the border states clearly qualify here to utilize this power themselves. And what’s interesting is they don’t need anyone’s permission. They can do it themselves. And because they’re acting under war powers, there’s no due process. 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. 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. Maybe you have a little courtesy shuttle and drive them over and leave them there. And the states can do that, interestingly enough, and the federal government can’t. But it really becomes a question of do they want to utilize this power or not.
When someone comes across your border without your permission, it’s an invasion. Their purpose here is to violate the border, to violate our sovereignty, for their own purposes. That’s an invasion. And here, I don’t think with the caravan it’s even debatable because you’ve got an entire group that’s organized itself to come into the country.
Cuccinelli went on to agree with host Matt Boyle that the caravan was like an “army” and could be helping mask and transport terrorists, despite no evidence of terrorists using the caravan to enter the U.S.
Of course, none of this is surprising. Cuccinelli will fit in perfectly among the ranks of Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner, whose immigration plans starkly contrast each other but still stem from the shared idea that immigrants aren’t worthy of existence in the U.S. It’s not so much a question of if Cuccinelli will attempt to propose such a policy if he accepts this DHS role than when.
I have reached out to DHS for comment and will update if I hear back.