Immigration Hardliner Resigns From Trump Administration

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Julie Kirchner, once viewed as a rising star in the Trump administration, resigned from her position as ombudsman of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), according to an internal email.

Kirchner offered her resignation to President Donald Trump this week, according to an email distributed to staffers Monday by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. The email was first obtained by Buzzfeed News. It’s not yet clear why Kirchner is resigning, and the Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Kirchner’s resignation, nonetheless, appears to mark the end of her career in the Trump administration, despite being previously considered for one of the White House’s top immigration positions.

She first joined the Trump administration in early 2017, becoming an advisor to McAleenan, who was then the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Trump in May of that year appointed Kirchner as ombudsman of USCIS — a position that helps immigrants who face issues with the agency, such as applicants who have been rejected or are dealing with long processing times. As USCIS ombudsman, she was also in charge of preparing annual reports of the agency to Congress.

USCIS Office. Shutterstock

USCIS US United States Citizenship and Immigration Services field main office entrance in Virginia with sign. Shutterstock

Before joining the Trump administration, Kirchner worked at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) from 2005 to 2015. She served as FAIR’s executive director from 2007 to 2017.

Kirchner was widely floated in April as a possible replacement to then-USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna. However, that position ultimately went to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Kirchner was also reportedly considered for USCIS deputy director.

“FAIR has no information regarding any positions to which Julie Kirchner may be appointed by President Trump,” FAIR president Dan Stein told the DCNF when Kirchner was considered for a promotion in April. “But we can unequivocally vouch for her as one of the most professional, competent, circumspect, deliberative and fair-minded people we have ever known. All who know her would certainly agree.”

Talks of a possible promotion for Kirchner incensed pro-immigration groups who pointed to her past leadership at FAIR, an organization that advocates for the reduction of immigration into the U.S. (RELATED: ICE Chief: ‘You Want To Prevent Crime? Help Us Get The Criminals’)

Kirchner’s resignation is the latest within the Department of Homeland Security. McAleenan, who served as DHS acting secretary for roughly six months, will be leaving his position at the end of October. Trump has not yet announced his replacement.

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