Series of Posts: President-Elect Trump's Cabinet Picks and Immigration

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President-Elect Trump's Cabinet Picks and Immigration

On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, and Michael R. Pence will be sworn in as the 48th Vice President of the United States. In a recent blog post, I detailed several reasons why I am enthusiastic about the prospects for the Trump Administration [see blog].

The Trump Administration promises to make dramatic changes in the conduct of the Executive Branch from the previous eight years. One area where many expect to see some of the most significant changes is in immigration policy. For this reason, I will write a series of blog posts detailing the backgrounds and public policy statements of the cabinet nominees of President-Elect Trump who will have the most bearing on administering the immigration laws. The list of nominees is as follows, and this article will be updated each time we post a new article:

  • Nominee for Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson [see blog];
  • Nominee for U.S. Attorney General: Jeff Sessions [see blog];
  • Nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security: John Kelly [see blog]; and
  • Nominee for Secretary of Labor: Andrew Puzder [see blog].

If confirmed, these four individuals will run the four most important departments for immigration purposes. The Secretary of State oversees the Department of State (DOS) and all of the U.S. Embassies and Consulates. As head of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Attorney General administers the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The Secretary of Homeland Security runs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which includes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Finally, the Secretary of Labor heads the Department of Labor (DOL), which is responsible for adjudicating labor certification and labor condition applications, and thereby plays a significant role in adjudicating many nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions. This is just a small sample of what these departments do in the realms of immigration law and policy.

Far more will go into the Trump Administration's posture on executing the immigration laws than President-Elect Trump's choices to head the DOS, DOJ, DHS, and DOL. However, understanding the backgrounds and views of these four individuals will go a long way toward understanding how the Trump Administration will view immigration law and policy. It is important to note that these individuals will not only run their departments, but will likely be key advisers to the President-Elect as he charts a new course in immigration law and policy for the next four years.

Please check back regularly for new articles in this series. From June to November, I wrote a series of blog posts on immigration issues through the prism of the 2016 political season. To read these posts, please see my directory for the series of posts on Immigration Issues and the Election [see blog]. My post on President-Elect Trump's most significant immigration policy address is worth reading again as he prepares to take the oath of office on January 20 [see blog].