Trump expected to tap ex-Virginia attorney general for immigration post: official

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli stands onstage with his wife Teiro Cuccinelli (R) and their family as he gives his concession speech at his election night event in Richmond, Virginia, November 5, 2013. Democratic Party insider Terry McAuliffe narrowly defeated Republican Cuccinelli, a Tea Party favorite, to win the nationally watched Virginia governor’s race on Tuesday, U.S. television networks reported. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to pick former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for an immigration policy position at the Department of Homeland Security, a White House official said on Tuesday.

Cuccinelli met with Trump on Monday, and the announcement of his appointment could come as early as this week, the official said. The New York Times first reported the expected pick on Tuesday.

News outlets have reported over the last two months that Trump was searching for an “immigration czar” to coordinate policy across the federal government.

Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned after 16 months managing Trump’s immigration agenda, which included separating migrant parents from their children at the U.S. southern border and forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their claims are heard.

As attorney general and a Virginia state senator, Cuccinelli developed a reputation as a conservative hardliner on a range of issues, including immigration. He has called for denying citizenship to U.S.-born children whose parents are in the country illegally, and authorized law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of anyone they stopped.

He lost a bid for governor in 2013, and recently has been involved with the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political group that supports right-leaning candidates.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jeffrey Benkoe

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