Top Trump Homeland Security Pick Admits He Made the Call to Subject Sick Kids to Deportation

“I made this decision,” Cuccinelli said. “Alone.”

Ken Cuccinelli testified at a House Oversight subcommittee hearing on deportation of critically ill immigrants Wednesday.Jose Luis Magana/AP

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Ken Cuccinelli, whom President Donald Trump is considering appointing as homeland security chief using an obscure and legally dubious maneuver, admitted Wednesday that he made the controversial decision to subject critically ill immigrant children to deportation.

The rule change in question would have eliminated temporary protection from deportation for migrants in need of vital medical care. It was ultimately reversed amid public outcry.

Cuccinelli, an immigration hardliner currently leading US Citizenship and Immigration Services, made the admission under questioning from Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). In a heated back-and-forth during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, Pressley pressed Cuccinelli on whether the White House—and Trump’s staunchly anti-immigration adviser Stephen Miller in particular—had a role in the rule change. Cuccinelli hedged but eventually responded in exasperation, “I made this decision. Alone.”

Pressley later tweeted, “Cuccinelli just told me under oath that he is the one that made the policy decision that put critically ill immigrant children at risk of deportation. One step closer to justice for these families.”

The Trump administration made the policy change in early August without notifying Congress, but after public outrage, USCIS said it would start processing requests for reprieve again in September. Cuccinelli has been instrumental in carrying out administration efforts to reduce legal immigration and promoting its crackdown on undocumented migration.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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