Trump Immigration Chief Ken Cuccinelli Calls Migrants ‘Things Coming Across the Border’
Trump administration acting Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli made a telling slip of the tongue when he referred to migrants as “things coming across the border” during a falsehood-choked exchange with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
On Friday morning’s edition of New Day, Camerota interviewed Cuccinelli about the Trump administration’s new proposal to detain migrant families indefinitely and concluded by asking about an Obama-era program that President Donald Trump scrapped in 2017.
Camerota described the Obama administration’s case management program — which had a 100 percent success rate for families showing up to court dates — and noted “That was done away with by the Trump administration in 2017. Why not go back to that?”
“Well right now, our agency, my agency, USCIS, handles asylum cases, and right now we have a 330,000 case backlog, and over half of that is more than 2 years old, it predates 2017,” Cuccinelli said, and while listing the “challenges” faced by the various DHS agencies, said of his own agency “we are doing all weekend to just to deal with the things coming across the border.”
Cuccinelli went on to complain about credible fear interviews, which he said are “a huge problem,” and added that “case management is not something we have personnel for.”
“Because you ended the program,” Camerota said.
“We do not have the manpower right now to, we’re barely keeping the asylum backlog from going up,” Cuccinelli said, then attacked “the people who come to our southern border knowing very well they are not asylum cases,” accusing migrants of making “fraudulent asylum claims” that “clog up the entire asylum system.”
Cuccinelli’s reference to migrants as “things” aside, the facts do not support any of what he says. The case management program was not conducted by USCIS personnel or any other agency, it was handled by a private company contracted by DHS, so reinstating it would have zero effect on Cuccinelli’s “manpower.”
And the cost of the program was $36 per day per family, as opposed to the $300 per person — which would be about $12oo a day for a family of 4 — that family detention costs the government.
Cuccinelli’s assertion about “fraudulent” asylum claims is also false. Immigration courts do deny 90 percent of asylum claims, but that doesn’t make them “fraudulent.” According to figures from Cuccinelli’s own agency, about 90 percent of asylum-seekers pass their “credible fear” interviews. And the Trump administration has moved to exclude domestic and gang violence abuse victims from eligibility for asylum.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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