Stephen Miller is making America hostile to immigrants

It is Miller time in America -- and what a dismal time it is.Stephen Miller, Donald Trump's 33-year o...

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 6:13 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 6:13 AM

It is Miller time in America -- and what a dismal time it is.

Stephen Miller, Donald Trump's 33-year old senior policy adviser, is rumored to have written a good bit of the speech that the President delivered last night from the Oval Office. Taken by itself, the speech and its horror-heavy rhetoric would suggest that the Trump administration and Miller take issue only with illegal immigration to the United States, the sort they believe authorities could stem with a physical barrier.

Political Figures - US

Stephen Miller

Citizenship and naturalization

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

North America

Passports and travel visas

Politics

The Americas

Travel and tourism

Undocumented immigrants

United States

US federal government

White House

This is not true. For Stephen Miller, advocating for the border wall and railing against illegal immigrants is but one part of the transformation he envisions for the United States and its immigration system. The other parts have to do with legal immigrants and crippling the programs that allow them to come into the country.

Miller, whose antipathy for immigration dates back to his high school years (when he wrote editorials critical of Hispanic students while blasting bilingual high school announcements) and is himself descended from immigrants, has gone so far as to associate immigration, as he said in a June 2016 Trump rally, with "heartbreak," "heartache" and "needless death." In August of 2018, Miller's uncle denounced him as an "architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family's life in this country." A former National Security Council official told Politico in November that Miller said at one meeting: "We must save Americans from these immigrant criminals!" Despite evidence showing that immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born Americans, Miller's persona and policy objectives make it clear that, to him, a "fixed" immigration system is one in which as few immigrants as possible cross America's borders, illegally or otherwise.

In the first two years of the Trump administration, Miller, taking care not to leave a paper trail, has hacked away at America's legal immigration system using what one senior Senate staffer described to Vanity Fair as the "termite" method: letting legal immigration programs erode from neglect and in some cases intentionally pulverizing them.

With pernicious regularity, Miller -- considered Trump's most influential immigration adviser -- has inserted himself into the construction of one executive order which bans travelers from seven countries, another that exhorts American employers to "Hire American," forced the State Department to reject research that discounted a connection between refugees and terrorism, and inserted himself into high-level NSC meetings leading at least one official to label him "president of immigration."

The details of how so many programs that enable legal migration to the United States have been debilitated are damning. The H-1B program, long the best way for highly skilled workers to migrate to the United States, will now be harder to access. According to data obtained by the National Foundation for American Policy, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has begun to issue more visa denials and "requests for evidence" than it did before, with nearly 69% of applicants getting an RFE in the last quarter of 2017. The onerous requirement delays visa processing further and, along with new forms demanded from employers, contributes to costly delays, potentially suggesting a deliberate effort to deter employers from hiring foreign workers altogether.

Where all immigrant workers are concerned, statistics released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last month showed a 750% increase in the number of worksite investigations, administrative proceedings and raids over the previous year. Ironically, the government shutdown has also led to the unavailability of the E-verify system that allows employers to check the immigration status of workers before they hire them, thwarting the administration's own concern with worker legality.

H-1B applicants who get "requests for evidence" are actually the luckier bunch among all visa applicants. A new policy directive issued by USCIS last summer permits the agency to summarily deny visa applications for immigrant visas, for green cards and for adjustments of status without first issuing a "request for evidence" or a "notice to appear" as they used to. Instead, the agency can, at their discretion, deny the visa and immediately label the applicant illegal and deportable, without giving them an option to depart voluntarily. The real consequence of the policy change is to make many more people ineligible for re-entry into the United States, because they have been deemed deportable. In cases of immigrant visas, applicants appearing for green card interviews have been rejected and then immediately detained because, under this new policy directive, they had been declared "illegal."

The virulence of Miller's views toward international students also came through last fall when he argued that Chinese students should be banned from US universities because of the possibility that they could be engaging in espionage for the Chinese government, and because (in Miller's view) such a ban would punish elite universities who have been critical of Mr. Trump. Thirty percent of international students are Chinese and most pay full price at American universities, subsidizing costs for American students. Around the midterm elections, it was reported that further restrictions on all international students and student exchange programs would also be forthcoming.

Miller has also been successful in arguing for a lower cap on the number of refugees coming to the United States, restricting the number to a record low of only 45,000 for 2018. In 2018, he turned his attention to asylum-seekers, championing a new rule that would disqualify those entering the country anywhere except a legal port of entry from claiming asylum. The law was struck down, but appeals are in progress. In late 2018, Miller pushed for yet another proposal to force asylum applicants on the southern border to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed.

Destroying or disabling work, student, immigrant, asylee and refugee programs is apparently not enough to sate the nativist sentiment that undergirds this Miller-led transformation of the US immigration system. Early in 2018, the Trump administration set about dividing "real" native-born citizens from naturalized citizens, inaugurating the "denaturalization task force," whose Operation Janus and Operation Second Look are pursuing denaturalization proceedings and screening old naturalization applications for fraud. No public guidelines exist for whom they may investigate or for how long. Furthermore, naturalized citizens, along with all other visa holders, are being monitored by the government through their social media accounts, and the information is being stored in files known as "A-files" that are kept and maintained by USCIS. A naturalized citizen, it seems, in the Trump Administration's view, is not entitled to the Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections the Constitution provides against just such surveillance.

The current furor may be over the shutdown and the border wall, but regardless of how the cataclysm of the moment turns out, Stephen Miller will likely continue his campaign to deter, defeat and demonize immigrants to the United States. In the case of highly skilled workers, international students, refugees and naturalized citizens, he has already been successful. The much-touted wall may not be necessary after all -- as the barriers, made up of policy briefs and administrative regulations and executive orders and task forces, have already been erected.

Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 62°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 58°
Rensselaer
Mostly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 57°
Lafayette
Mostly Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 62°
Danville
Partly Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 58°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 57°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 57°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 56°
Monticello
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 56°
Logansport
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 55°
Some More Frost & Light Freezing Ahead......
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 707111

Reported Deaths: 13216
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion963501718
Lake51613944
Allen39106671
Hamilton34449405
St. Joseph33979539
Elkhart27255432
Vanderburgh22060394
Tippecanoe21765212
Porter17945298
Johnson17507374
Hendricks16786310
Clark12681190
Madison12338337
Vigo12204244
Monroe11443166
LaPorte11118204
Delaware10341184
Howard9652211
Kosciusko9114114
Hancock7964139
Bartholomew7880155
Warrick7681155
Floyd7555176
Wayne6895198
Grant6837171
Boone6541100
Morgan6390138
Dubois6079117
Marshall5779108
Dearborn569876
Cass5683102
Henry5572100
Noble540683
Jackson493069
Shelby478495
Lawrence4338118
Gibson427989
Harrison427670
Clinton418653
Montgomery417786
DeKalb409184
Huntington378680
Whitley377939
Miami372465
Knox365989
Steuben364457
Putnam352560
Jasper350146
Wabash347678
Adams337952
Ripley334568
Jefferson312980
White308154
Daviess289299
Wells286281
Decatur278792
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268533
Scott261053
Clay253244
LaGrange252470
Randolph235280
Washington230731
Spencer227631
Jennings224747
Fountain208445
Sullivan207742
Starke203952
Owen192156
Fulton191439
Jay186029
Carroll185720
Perry180236
Orange177253
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130234
Pulaski113645
Newton103534
Brown100040
Crawford97614
Benton96713
Martin82615
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events