Report: Former Director Of Anti-Immigration Group Could Lead US Immigration Services

on July 5, 2018 in Fairfax, Virginia.
Alex Wong/Getty Images North America

The Trump administration is considering giving an anti-immigration-advocate-turned-Trump-administration-staffer a promotion to the top of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Politico reported Wednesday.

Before joining the 2016 Trump campaign as an immigration adviser, Julie Kirchner was executive director of the Federation for American Immigration (FAIR) for eight years. FAIR was founded by notorious xenophobe John Tanton, who later in life said “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that” and openly lauded the benefits of eugenics. Tanton is still listed on FAIR’s national board of advisers. 

The group advocates, in its words, “controlled borders, reduced immigration and better enforcement.”

Politico cited an unnamed White House official and three unnamed people briefed on the deliberations in its report, which also said Kirchner was being considered for the USCIS deputy director position, as well. 

Politico also matched CNN’s reporting that the current director of USCIS, Francis Cissna, isn’t expected to last much longer in that position. Cissna, a former staffer for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), has been a prominent face of the administration’s efforts to restrict legal immigration and asylum.

After being brought on as an adviser by then-Customs and Border Protection acting director Kevin McAleenan — who the President recently named acting Homeland Security director, following Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster — early in the Trump presidency, Kirchner was named ombudsman of USCIS in May 2017.

Maria Odom, the Obama administration’s USCIS ombudsman, told TPM upon Kirchner’s last promotion that she was an “ill fit” and a “poor match” for the job.

“The statute that guides the work of that office makes it very clear that whoever is in that position should be someone who has immigration knowledge and a background in customer service, which I don’t believe Ms. Kirchner has,” she said.

A spokesperson for DHS directed TPM’s questions to the White House, which did not return a request to confirm the report.

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