WASHINGTON (AP) — Outside allies of President Donald Trump have launched a public campaign urging him to nominate former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as his next secretary of Homeland Security.
That's despite the uphill battle Kobach would certainly face getting confirmed by the Senate.
NumbersUSA, a group that seeks to reduce immigration rates, released a statement on Tuesday saying there is "no one more qualified" for the job and claiming Kobach has the support of Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Kobach also has the backing of other immigration hardliners, including conservative firebrand Ann Coulter, who supported Trump during the campaign but has since accused him of failing to make good on his promises. She tweeted that tapping Kobach would be "Trump's 300th chance to prove he believed one thing he said during the campaign."
Conservatives were also rallying Tuesday to defend Lee Francis Cissna, the director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, whose job is said to be in danger as part of an overhaul of DHS leadership currently underway.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, another group that advocates for lower rates of immigration, tweeted that, under Cissna's leadership, "USCIS has issued a steady stream of policy changes and regulations that are firmly in line with President Trump's immigration agenda" and that removing him "would be a huge mistake."
NumbersUSA also praised Cissna, saying he "is exactly the type of leader @realDonaldTrump promised he would appoint. D.C. has a deficit of public servants of his knowledge, capability, and integrity."
Kobach did not response to a request for comment Tuesday morning. But in an appearance on Fox News Channel Monday night that felt like an audition, Kobach called DHS the "biggest impediment" to the president's policies.
He said that since Trump took office, leadership at the agency, "has been unwilling to execute many of the president's plans."
"There has been deliberate foot-dragging and I think that's why you're seeing the White House take the necessary steps to clean house at DHS and put people in, hopefully, who will quickly execute what the president orders," he said.
Asked by host Tucker Carlson what he would do first if he were put in charge, he said he would deploy thousands of FEMA trailers to border cities or military bases in Texas and Arizona and set up "processing centers" to handle asylum claims, and prevent those living in the U.S. illegally from sending remittances home to Mexico, among other ideas.
The White House declined to comment on the push, with spokeswoman Sarah Sanders saying, "We do not have any personnel announcements at this time."