Amid migrant surge, Trump adds hardliner Ken Cuccinelli to administration

Click to play video: 'Cuccinelli tapped for White House immigration job'
Cuccinelli tapped for White House immigration job
WATCH ABOVE: Cuccinelli tapped for White House immigration job – May 21, 2019

The former attorney general of Virginia, whose name had been tossed around for months for an immigration role, will be joining the Trump administration, according to a White House official.

Ken Cuccinelli will be taking a position within the Department of Homeland Security, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday ahead of an official announcement.

The Associated Press first reported last month Trump was considering bringing on Cuccinelli as an “immigration czar” to co-ordinate policy across federal agencies. But the official said Cuccinelli will not be assuming that role.

READ MORE: 16-year-old Guatemalan boy dies in U.S. custody — 5th migrant child death since December

Read next: Fireball facing lawsuit for selling mini bottles that don’t contain whisky

A second official said the job was still being defined and it wasn’t clear yet what Cuccinelli’s role would be within the department. The official was not authorized to speak about internal policy and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Story continues below advertisement

The hire comes as Trump is struggling with a migrant surge at the southern border that is straining federal resources. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has asked Congress for $4.5 billion more in supplemental funding.

WATCH: President Trump threatens to deploy more troops to US/Mexico border

Click to play video: 'President Trump threatens to deploy more troops to US/Mexico border'
President Trump threatens to deploy more troops to US/Mexico border

Cuccinelli has in the past advocated for denying citizenship to the American-born children of parents living in the U.S. illegally, limiting in-state tuition at public universities only to those who are citizens or legal residents.

He didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

READ MORE: Despite resignation, Kirstjen Nielsen says she still supports Trump’s border policies

Read next: Adopt ‘heightened’ vigilance on reports of Russia-linked hacks over Ukraine aid: CSE centre

There was debate within the Trump administration over whether an immigration czar would be housed within the White House or within Homeland Security, a trickier positioning where the appointment could conflict with top leaders in Senate-confirmed positions.

Story continues below advertisement

While Homeland Security often plays a leading role when it comes to immigration policy and enforcement, the department is not in charge of officials at the departments of Health and Human Services, State, Defence and Justice, which also play key roles.

But the plan was on hold amid a staff shake up that began with the surprise pulling of the nomination of Ron Vitiello to head U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and led to the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the removal or resignation of other top department officials.

Trump named McAleenan, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as acting secretary.

Sponsored content