Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ken Cuccinelli has apparently deleted a tweet about the suspect charged with a stabbing attack at a Hanukkah celebration in New York over the weekend, saying "American values did not take hold" in the man's family although he is a U.S. citizen.
“The attacker is the US Citizen son of an illegal alien who got amnesty under the 1986 amnesty law for illegal immigrants. Apparently, American values did not take hold among this entire family, at least this one violent, and apparently bigoted, son,” Cuccinelli said in a since-deleted tweet, referencing a bipartisan bill signed by then-President Reagan granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who entered the country before 1982.
A tweet by acting DHS deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli (@HomelandKen) that suggested the suspect in the New York Hanukkah stabbings is a US citizen who had not assimilated appears to have been deleted or removed pic.twitter.com/xo7Nc2iw8x— Ted Hesson (@tedhesson) December 30, 2019
Asked for comment, USCIS referred The Hill to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not immediately respond to questions about Cuccinelli's remarks.
Grafton Thomas, who had already been charged with five counts of attempted murder in connection with the stabbing at a rabbi's home, was also charged with federal hate crimes Monday after authorities said they discovered anti-Semitic content in his journals as well as online searches for “German Jewish Temples near me.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has described the attack as an act of domestic terrorism.
Thomas's family has said they never heard him express anti-Semitic views and said through defense attorney Michael Sussman that he was “raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races.”
Cuccinelli has long supported the Trump administration’s hard-line positions on immigration, including defending its August move to make it more difficult for an immigrant to obtain a green card if they rely on social safety net programs.