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Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and his acting deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, were improperly appointed to their posts under federal law, according to the Government Accountability Office. Their appointments were found to violate the Vacancy Reform Act, as many advocates have long stated.
The GAO’s determination does not carry any required action, but it could factor into ongoing lawsuits about the legality of their appointments. The GAO also asked the DHS inspector general, who was also appointed by Trump, to investigate the matter. DHS and the White House rejected the report, while the House Committee on Homeland Security called for Wolf and Cuccinelli to step down.
Trump has repeatedly avoided the Senate confirmation process by giving his appointees “acting” titles, leaving them in their roles indefinitely without a formal nomination. Cuccinelli is currently “senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary” as well as acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The GAO found Trump’s appointment of former acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan to succeed Kirstjen Nielsen violated the order of succession, as did every appointment since then. The Vacancies Reform Act governs how temporary appointments can be made. Associated Press, The Washington Post
In other federal immigration news…
Despite voters saying they’re more concerned about the coronavirus pandemic than immigration, Trump remains insistent on pursuing his anti-immigration agenda for the 2020 election that won him the White House in the 2016. Trump adviser and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller told Reuters that Trump’s policies will contrast with former Vice President Joe Biden’s more permissive immigration policies. Trump’s campaign has issued a number of anti-immigration ads. Reuters
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