Top Trump Official Has Been Calling Undocumented Immigrants 'Invaders' Since 2007

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli joined a group in 2007 that described undocumented immigrants as "foreign invaders" who bring "serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking [and] terrorism," according to a new report.

In 2007, Cuccinelli helped establish the State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a nation-wide coalition that seeks to eliminate all economic incentives for undocumented immigrants as well as secure America's borders. Although the State Legislators for Legal Immigration was founded by Daryl Metcalfe, who's currently serving in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Cuccinelli was one of the first state lawmakers to sign on with the group over a decade ago, CNN reported.

The group's founding principle was based on the notion that undocumented immigrants represented a form of invasion that should be addressed by invoking powers under the Constitution, according to the news outlet.

Cuccinelli has continued to peddle this "extreme rhetoric," adopted by the Republicans and Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, in recent years. During an appearance on Breitbart radio last October, Cuccinelli said that states should utilize "war powers" to prevent a so-called caravan group of Central American migrants from crossing the border and seeking asylum in the U.S.

"We've been being invaded for a long time, and so the border states clearly qualify here to utilize this power themselves. And what's interesting is they don't need anyone's permission," Cuccinelli said. "They can do it themselves. And because they're acting under war powers, there's no due process. They can literally just line their National Guard up with, presumably with riot gear like they would if they had a civil disturbance, and turn people back at the border."

"You don't have to keep them, no catch and release, no nothing. You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it," Cuccinelli continued. "When someone comes across your border without your permission, it's an invasion."

He added: "Their purpose here is to violate the border, to violate our sovereignty, for their own purposes. That's an invasion."

Cuccinelli's decision to join the State Legislators for Legal Immigration was announced in a May 2007 press release, where the former Virginia Senator (R-37) called documented immigrants "illegal aliens."

"Many illegal aliens come here for the same reasons immigrants always have – freedom to make a better life for themselves and their families," he said. "The flood of illegal aliens in the job market has the effect of depressing wages and reducing American's standard of living."

Ken Cuccinelli
Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli speaks about immigration policy at the White House during a briefing August 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. Cuccinelli was a founding member of a group that called undocumented immigrants "invaders" more than a decade ago, according to a new report. Win McNamee/Getty