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Cuccinelli Named Acting US Immigration Chief

Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, center, is seen with lawmakers at the White House in Washington, Nov. 14, 2018.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has officially been named acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

President Donald Trump asked Cuccinelli, a conservative lawmaker known for his hard-line immigration views, to lead the agency that is tasked with administering the nation’s legal immigration system.

Cuccinelli will lead an agency of 19,000 employees and contractors.

According to a USCIS press release, besides administering the nation’s lawful immigration system, USCIS protects Americans, secures the homeland and honors America's values.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at this critical time and serve alongside this agency’s dedicated workforce,” Cuccinelli said in the press release. “I look forward to working with the men and women of USCIS to ensure our legal immigration system operates effectively and efficiently while deterring fraud and protecting the American people.”

The new acting director also said the USCIS has the “extraordinary responsibility” to administer and protect the integrity of the U.S. immigration system, which he described as the “most generous” in the world.

Rumors of a potential position for Cuccinelli came with controversy. Before Monday's announcement, the Trump administration was reported to be creating a new position aimed at overhauling America's immigration system amid an accelerating surge of Central American migrants and asylum-seekers arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Some had given the position the nickname immigration czar.

In fiscal 2018, the agency adjudicated more than 8.7 million requests for immigration benefits.