After just six months serving as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Kevin McAleenan resigned last Friday night. McAleenan was the fourth DHS Secretary of the Trump Administration. He focused his time at the agency cracking down on asylum applicants and reducing overall entries to the US. While McAleenan considered himself successful at the agency, he was said to have had an embattled relationship with a White House taking increasingly extreme positions on immigration.
As for a replacement for McAleenan, no name has yet been mentioned, though some are speculating it will be current acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli would likely face a tough confirmation battle in the Senate. Of late, the Trump Administration has simply been appointing key appointees as “Acting” directors and secretaries. The Federal Vacancies Act dictates who can be appointed to acting and interim positions and Cuccinelli’s USCIS appointment appears to violate the law and potentially providing a legal argument to someone seeking to challenge actions taken by Mr. Cuccinelli. Cuccinelli would similarly be ineligible for an interim DHS Secretary appointment and, according to the law, would need to be confirmed by the Senate.