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Senate political grudges, statutory hurdles block immigration hawk Ken Cuccinelli from top DHS spot

The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:

The White House appears to have avoided a contentious confirmation fight with the GOP-controlled Senate with the announcement that acting undersecretary for policy Chad Wolf would take over as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security after Veteran’s Day.

The decision passes over acting Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli, after weeks of speculation about whether or not the White House would try to put him at the helm of the department. The terms of the federal law governing vacancies would likely have meant trying to confirm him through the regular process, and while Cuccinelli was the preferred pick of several conservative activists and leaders — as well as reportedly President Trump himself — the acting immigration chief’s history of involvement in Republican primary elections has made him a lot of GOP enemies in the upper chamber.

Indeed, even though President Trump was able to get over Cuccinelli’s opposition during the 2016 Republican National Convention for the sake of accomplishing his immigration agenda, it appears that grudges in Republican Senate conference have a much longer shelf life.

Wolf, who also previously worked as former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s chief of staff, isn’t expected to draw the same kind of opposition as Cuccinelli, but his history as a lobbyist for an Indian organization that wants to lift restrictions on foreign tech visas is likely to draw some criticism from Hill immigration hawks.

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