Top Trump official was part of group that called undocumented immigrants 'invaders': report

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli was a founding member of a group that called undocumented immigrants “invaders,” CNN reports

Cuccinelli reportedly helped create State Legislators of Legal Immigration in 2007, which centered itself on a tough immigration rhetoric that is similar to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE’s during his 2016 campaign and presidency. 

CNN's KFile reports the founding principle of the group was that undocumented immigration represented an invasion of the United States on part with foreign invasion and justifies invoking war powers under the Constitution. 

A press release from 2007 announced then-Virginia state Sen. Cuccinelli was joining the immigration group. In the unearthed press release Cuccinelli said he was joining based on terms of security. 

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“We face very real security threats today," Cuccinelli said at the time. "Porous borders and lax immigration enforcement have left us vulnerable not only to terrorist attacks but to increasing levels of crime in our communities. Those already accustomed to flagrantly disregarding our laws do not hesitate to traffic their deadly cocktail of drugs and gang violence into Virginia."

Cuccinelli also argued states could use “war powers” to block Central American migrants in an interview with Breitbart radio last October, CNN notes. He again repeated his message that the U.S. has “been being invaded for a long time.”

"When someone comes across your border without your permission, it's an invasion,” he said at the time.  

Cuccinelli, who worked as a CNN contributor earlier this year, came under fire this week after he said the famous Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty should be changed to “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

The original poem reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Cuccinelli’s remarks followed his announcement of the Trump administration’s new “public charge” rule, that will make it easier to reject green cards for those deemed likely to depend on public assistance. It is set to go into effect in October and is being challenged by a number of states.

He later defended his remarks saying the Lazarus poem refers to “people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies.”

The Hill has reached out to USCIS and the White House for comment.