Immigration Chief Tells Off Ayanna Pressley: 'I'm Not Gonna Just Answer the Way You Want Me To'


A House Oversight Committee hearing grew heated Wednesday when Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a prominent member of the progressive Democratic “Squad,” grilled a senior Trump administration immigration official on a controversial deportation policy.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, was testifying about the establishment and subsequent reversal of the policy, The Hill reported.

According to NBC News, the original Trump administration policy “shut down the medically deferred action program, which allowed families of critically ill children to receive care in the United States without fear of deportation.”

The Department of Homeland Security announced its plans to rescind its decision to discontinue the program on Sept. 19. USCIS is an agency of DHS.

In Wednesday’s hearing, Pressley questioned Cuccinelli about the context surrounding his agency’s move to reverse course, framing her questioning around uncertainty regarding who was behind USCIS’ initial decision.

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“USCIS … continuously refused to identify who made the decision to end consideration of deferred action at USCIS,” she said.

“Who made the decision that USCIS would stop accepting and processing deferred action requests on Aug. 7?” the Massachusetts Democrat asked Cuccinelli.

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The immigration official responded that it “was my decision as the acting director.”

“Did anyone at the White House play a role in this decision?” Pressley went on.

“This was an agency decision solely,” Cuccinelli began before being interrupted by the freshman congresswoman.

Pressley then narrowed her questioning, bringing up President Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a well-known immigration hardliner.

“Did Stephen Miller play a role in this decision or not?”

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The progressive Democrat continued to interrupt Cuccinelli as he attempted to answer her questions.

“I’m not going to get into specific commentary back and forth, but I made this decision,” the USCIS director said again before being cut off one more time.

“I’m not gonna just answer the way you want me to answer,” Cuccinelli said.

“I made this decision. Alone.”

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