Panel approves Trump pick to head im­mi­gra­tion agency

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - — Stephen Dinan

The Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee voted Thurs­day to ap­prove Pres­i­dent Trump’s pick to lead the im­mi­gra­tion ben­e­fits agency, re­ject­ing com­plaints from ad­vo­cacy groups who had com­plained he was too con­ser­va­tive and too in­ex­pe­ri­enced to take the im­por­tant bu­reau­cratic post.

Lee Fran­cis Cissna, the nom­i­nee for di­rec­tor of U.S. Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices, cleared com­mit­tee on a strong bi­par­ti­san vote, with just two Democrats vot­ing no, set­ting up a fi­nal con­fir­ma­tion vote in the whole Se­nate.

“He is truly an im­mi­gra­tion ex­pert,” said Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles E. Grass­ley, who at one point had Mr. Cissna de­tailed to his staff to work on im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy is­sues.

Mr. Grass­ley also said Mr. Cissna has had long ex­pe­ri­ence at the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, which over­sees USCIS, giv­ing him the man­age­ment cre­den­tials needed to head a mas­sive agency.

USCIS is the lesser-known cousin to the other im­mi­gra­tion agen­cies, which over­see in­te­rior and bor­der en­force­ment. But the agency has im­mense pow­ers over who comes to the U.S. legally, and would be at the crux of any broad amnesty to il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

The agency also ad­min­is­ters for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s 2012 tem­po­rary de­por­ta­tion amnesty for Dream­ers.

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