Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley warned the Trump administration to end its purge of top immigration officials, arguing that the changes risk destabilizing the Department of Homeland Security.
“The president has to have some stability and particularly with the number one issue that he’s made for his campaign, throughout his two and a half years of presidency,” Grassley said Monday during an interview with the Washington Post. “He’s pulling the rug out from the very people that are trying to help him accomplish his goal.”
Grassley’s tough comments come after President Donald Trump not only pulled Ron Vitiello’s nomination to permanently lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Thursday, but also accepted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation on Sunday.
The senior senator from Iowa said he was “very, very concerned” about reports that Lee Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), was next on the chopping block. There is also speculation that John Mitnick, Homeland Security Department’s general counsel, may also be axed.
“One, those are good public servants,” he said of the immigration officials. “Secondly, besides the personal connection I have with them and the qualifications they have, they are the intellectual basis for what the president wants to accomplish in immigration.”
Grassley also leveled major criticism against Stephen Miller, a senior advisor to Trump and one of the most influential White House aides regarding immigration policy. Miller, according to the senator, has not accomplished “anything” for the president.
The brash turnover comes as Trump, increasingly frustrated over the border crisis, says he wants “tougher” people leading immigration enforcement.
“[Vitiello is] a good man,” the president said Friday, a day after he pulled Vitiello’s nomination to lead ICE. “But we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.”
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