US asylum chief reassigned after critical email publicized

The head of asylum for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, John Lafferty, has been reassigned to deputy director of a service center in Virginia, according to an agency official.

Lafferty’s reassignment comes after an email was publicized in July that he had sent to asylum officers noting the challenges they were being asked to endure in order to implement a new asylum policy.

It is unclear if Lafferty’s move is connected to the email. BuzzFeed first reported Lafferty’s reassignment and reports that acting USCIS Director and Trump administration insider Ken Cuccinelli pushed him out.

In the memo, Lafferty wrote that the agency was “once again being asked to adapt, and to do so with very little time to train and prepare.”

“If I didn’t know that we have some of the most dedicated, adaptable, and most talented public servants presently serving in the federal government, I would be concerned about being able to implement these changes on such short notice,” Lafferty wrote.

Asked about Lafferty’s move, a USCIS official said the agency “has the authority to reassign these high-level managers to best serve the agency.”