Senior Trump administration official deletes tweet about immigrant parent of Hannukah attacker

A bipartisan bill was signed in 1986 by then-President Reagan granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who entered the country before 1982, including one of the suspect's parents

David Maclean
New York
Tuesday 31 December 2019 14:56 GMT

A senior US immigration official tweeted about the suspect charged with a stabbing attack on Jews in New York over the weekend, pointing out that he is the son of an undocumented immigrant and adding “American values did not take hold”.

Ken Cuccinelli is the acting director of the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) and posted the message - since deleted - in the wake of the attack in Monsey, north of New York City, in which a man apparently burst into a rabbi’s home during Hanukkah celebrations and began stabbing attendees.

He wrote: “The attacker is the US Citizen son of an illegal alien who got amnesty under the 1986 amnesty law for illegal immigrants. Apparently, American values did not take hold among this entire family, at least this one violent, and apparently bigoted, son.”

A bipartisan bill was signed in 1986 by then-President Reagan granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who entered the country before 1982.

Grafton Thomas, 37, has also been charged with federal hate crimes in addition to the five counts of who had already been charged with five counts of attempted murder.

A police officer speaks with the Jewish community in the aftermath of the attack (Getty)

It followed the discovery of what authorities say are handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references, and web searches for information on Hitler and the location of synagogues. He denies all charges.

His family said through a later that he was “raised in a home which embraced and respected all religions and races” and had not been heard uttering anti-semitic views.

A blood-stained 18-inch machete was recovered from his car, along with a knife smeared with dried blood and hair, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint.

When he appeared in court on Monday, he replied to a judge who asked him if his head was clear that he was "not clear at all" and needed sleep. But he added: "I am coherent."

His lawyer Susanne Brody said Thomas has struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The stabbings on the seventh night of Hanukkah came amid a series of violent attacks targeting Jews in the region that have led to increased security, particularly around religious gatherings.

The five victims suffered serious injuries — including a severed finger, slash wounds and deep lacerations — and at least one was in critical condition with a skull fracture, the complaint said.

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