With Stephen Miller pouring poison into Trump’s ear, the uncivil war rages on

Strong but accurate portrayal:

Does the Trump administration’s face of evil have a point?

Stephen Miller, the white supremacist who steers United States President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, and also serves as his xenophobic speechwriter, claims it is hypocritical for Democrats and progressives to decry the President’s planned political rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday as a coronavirus superspreader.

How can they do that, he asks, when they’re the same people who are encouraging and participating in massive protest rallies against racism and police brutality? Thousands of demonstrators milling together on streets, many of them without masks. It’s hypocrisy on stilts, Mr. Miller says.

He cited Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who extended her lockdown order at the same time as she was promoting mass street protests. And how about Florida congresswoman Val Demings, who is on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s shortlist for a running mate? She joined a major protest while blasting the President for his planned rally.

“There is almost assuredly going to be a spike in COVID cases and it will also almost assuredly be put on red-state governors and the President holding rallies,” Mr. Miller wrote in The Spectator this week. “But Democratic activists and politicians themselves created this situation.”

It’s too early to determine whether protests are contributing to a spike in COVID-19 cases. But progressives have to be careful about rhetoric and activities that play into the hands of the 34-year-old Mr. Miller and his Oval Office master. Campaigns to defund police departments, for example, are a godsend to Mr. Trump’s law-and-order campaign, as are protests that descend into violence.

Mr. Trump tweeted on Monday that the news media was “trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies.” Unconcerned about a new wave of the coronavirus plague, he will hold these rallies, no matter how dangerous they may be. Re-election, as he sees it, depends on the country getting out of its crouching, virus-defensive posture and back on its economic feet.

Despite U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence’s assertion that fears of a renewed virus outbreak are overblown, a dozen or so states, including Florida, Texas and Oklahoma – which is a heavily pro-Trump state – are still seeing a surge in cases.

While the anti-racism protests have been outdoors, where the virus is less contagious, the Trump team was planning on holding its rally in a packed indoor arena. But last-minute plans were being made to shift it to an outdoor venue. Mr. Pence said this was to accommodate huge crowds, but there was also pressure to do so for health reasons.

The Tulsa rally will be the President’s first in three months. The city was also the site of a massacre 99 years ago, when a white mob attacked Black residents of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, killing as many as 300 people. The Trump rally was originally planned to be held on Friday, June 19, which is known as Juneteenth, a holiday when many Black Americans celebrate their emancipation from slavery. But owing to the outrage the plan provoked, it was moved back a day.

Even so, the event is likely to heighten racial tensions. It will play to Mr. Trump’s base, as all his other measures do. The police reforms he announced this week were toothless. He has rejected calls to rename military bases honouring Confederate generals.

Mr. Miller has had Mr. Trump’s ear since day one, and is still pouring poison into it. Mr. Miller is a blank-faced, cold and uncompromising bigot. In most everything written about him, the word evil or something synonymous can be found.

He is architect of the ban limiting travel to the U.S. from many Muslim countries, harsh anti-refugee policies and Trump speeches berating immigrants. Last November, leaked e-mails between himself and a former Breitbart editor showed him promoting white nationalist propaganda and materials from white supremacist sites. A group of 27 senators sent a letter to the White House saying Mr. Miller was motivated by white supremacy, not national security, and demanded he be fired.

Firing Mr. Miller is the furthest thing from Mr. Trump’s mind. His campaign priority is hardly to attract Black voters. With the help of Mr. Miller, he has pretty much lost them all.

As many have noted in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the Civil War of the 1860s in the United States has never really ended. Mr. Trump and Mr. Miller are shamefully keen to extend it into this campaign.

Source: With Stephen Miller pouring poison into Trump’s ear, the uncivil war rages on: Lawrence Martin

Before Covid-19, Trump Aide Sought to Use Disease to Close Borders

Stephen Miller’s zealotry is impressive and depressing on a whole range of immigration issues, with this showing the depth of his anti-immigration ideology:

From the early days of the Trump administration, Stephen Miller, the president’s chief adviser on immigration, has repeatedly tried to use an obscure law designed to protect the nation from diseases overseas as a way to tighten the borders.

The question was, which disease?

Mr. Miller pushed for invoking the president’s broad public health powers in 2019, when an outbreak of mumps spread through immigration detention facilities in six states. He tried again that year when Border Patrol stations were hit with the flu.

When vast caravans of migrants surged toward the border in 2018, Mr. Miller looked for evidence that they carried illnesses. He asked for updates on American communities that received migrants to see if new disease was spreading there.

In 2018, dozens of migrants became seriously ill in federal custody, and two under the age of 10 died within three weeks of each other. While many viewed the incidents as resulting from negligence on the part of the border authorities, Mr. Miller instead argued that they supported his argument that President Trump should use his public health powers to justify sealing the borders.

On some occasions, Mr. Miller and the president, who also embraced these ideas, were talked down by cabinet secretaries and lawyers who argued that the public health situation at the time did not provide sufficient legal basis for such a proclamation.

That changed with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

Within days of the confirmation of the first case in the United States, the White House shut American land borders to nonessential travel, closing the door to almost all migrants, including children and teenagers who arrived at the border with no parent or other adult guardian. Other international travel restrictions were introduced, as well as a pause on green card processing at American consular offices, which Mr. Miller told conservative allies in a recent private phone call was only the first step in a broader plan to restrict legal immigration.

But what has been billed by the White House as an urgent response to the coronavirus pandemic was in large part repurposed from old draft executive orders and policy discussions that have taken place repeatedly since Mr. Trump took office and have now gained new legitimacy, three former officials who were involved in the earlier deliberations said.

One official said the ideas about invoking public health and other emergency powers had been on a “wish list” of about 50 ideas to curtail immigration that Mr. Miller crafted within the first six months of the administration.

He had come up with the proposals, the official said, by poring through not just existing immigration laws, but the entire federal code to look for provisions that would allow the president to halt the flow of migrants into the United States.

Administration officials have repeatedly said the latest measures are needed to prevent new cases of infection from entering the country.

“This is a public health order that we’re operating under right now,” Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, told reporters earlier this month. “This is not about immigration. What’s transpiring right now is purely about infectious disease and public health.”

The White House declined to comment on the matter, but a senior administration official confirmed details of the past discussions.

The architect of the president’s assault on immigration and one of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers inside the White House, Mr. Miller has relentlessly pushed for tough restrictions on legal and illegal immigration, including policies that sought to separate families crossing the southwest border, force migrants seeking asylum to wait in squalid camps in Mexico and deny green cards to poor immigrants.

Mr. Miller argues that reducing immigration will protect jobs for American workers and keep communities safe from criminals. But critics accuse him of targeting nonwhite immigrants, pointing in part to leaked emails from his time before entering the White House in which he cited white nationalist websites and magazines and promoted theories popular with white nationalist groups.

The idea that immigrants carry infections into the country echoes a racist notion with a long history in the United States that associates minorities with disease.

The federal law on public health that Mr. Miller has long wanted to use grants power to the surgeon general and president to block people from entering the United States when it is necessary to avert a “serious danger” posed by the presence of a communicable disease in foreign countries.

The administration in adopting the latest restrictions on immigration has relied not only on that public health authority, but also on another provision of federal law that allows the president to deny entry to foreigners whose presence “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The provision, section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, grants broad power to the president, but sets a high legal bar for its use. The Reagan administration invoked it to block large numbers of Haitians traveling by sea to seek asylum in the United States, and during the Obama administration, it was used to enforce sanctions against Iran.

The Trump administration has made use of the authority on occasion, including the sanctions imposed on Iran and a travel bandirected at six predominantly Muslim countries in 2017 as a purported defense against terrorism. But the president has often expressed frustration at being discouraged from using the authority more often and in policies that are more sweeping in scope, including when record numbers of migrant families surged across the southern border.

He seemed to discount the stringent standards required to invoke it, often referring to it as his “magical authority” to restrict immigration, one of the former officials who was present for the discussions said.

Mr. Miller also frequently expressed interest in using the 212(f) authority. On more than one occasion, the official said, he discussed it as a backup option in case the courts blocked a policy such as the administration’s public charge rule, which prevents people who have used public benefits from obtaining green cards.

The use of section 212(f) and the public health authority during the pandemic is in keeping with a defining characteristic of Mr. Miller, as described by the three former officials who worked in proximity to him: His refusal to let things go. When advised that a proposed policy is not legal, they said, he works steadily to find an alternative justification and continues to raise the issue.

The former officials who were present for the discussions said Mr. Miller suggested using the president’s public health authority to seal the border so frequently that it was difficult to recall specific scenarios.

In repeated meetings in the Oval Office, in the Situation Room and during late-night phone diatribes that gave few opportunities for his colleagues to chime in, they said, Mr. Miller pushed the idea as a legal silver bullet.

He and others in the administration frequently talked about migrants as potential vectors of disease, they said. Mr. Miller cited historical precedent for invoking the president’s public health powers, pointing out that many immigrants were refused entry at Ellis Island in the late 19th century amid concerns that contagious diseases could be brought in to overcrowded cities.

During the mumps outbreak in 2019, after other White House advisers disagreed with the use of the public health authority to halt immigration, Mr. Miller ordered federal immigration officials to begin generating reports on the level of infection among detained migrants for White House review.

In the meantime, he encouraged the State Department to step up medical screenings of migrants, and crafted a presidential proclamation barring entry for immigrants who could not afford to purchase health insurance, a measure that was blocked by a federal judge.

The coronavirus pandemic has created an opening for some of Mr. Miller’s other longstanding policy goals, such as finding a way to quickly deport children who travel to the United States without a parent or other adult. Mr. Miller considered that category of migrants among the most difficult to stop, said one official who had discussed it with him, because the young people are protected legally by substantial due process requirements designed to ensure that deportation would not place them in harm’s way.

Since border crossings were scaled back under the coronavirus restrictions, even unaccompanied children and teenagers have been turned away.

While the administration succeeded in invoking the public health authority to impose the new border restrictions, that is only one of a number of aggressive legal strategies Mr. Miller has proposed, some of which have not been adopted.

At one point in the first year of the administration, Mr. Miller proposed designating smugglers, who are often paid to help migrants across the rugged and cartel-controlled terrain of the southwest border, as terrorists, one of the former officials said. Mr. Miller, the official said, argued that this would allow U.S. authorities to deny entry to asylum seekers on the grounds that they had aided a foreign terrorist organization during their journeys.

Mr. Miller has also drawn up plans to expand security on the southern border.

Over the years, some national guard and military officers have been deployed there, but they have been relegated mostly to stringing up concertina wire because of legal restrictions on their ability to operate in the United States.

To overcome those hurdles, Mr. Miller has proposed invoking the Insurrection Act, a law written in the 1800s, that allows for the military to be deployed in the face of civil unrest. Under that law, he said, military officers would gain the authority to prevent migrants from crossing the border.

After Stephen Miller’s white nationalist beliefs outouted, Latinos ask, ‘where’s the GOP outrage?’

Good question but yet not surprising:

It wasn’t the content of White House adviser Stephen Miller’s leaked emails that shocked Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democrat from El Paso, Texas, but the silence of her Republican colleagues that has followed.

Miller is the architect of President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policies that have separated children from parents,forced people seeking asylum in the U.S. to wait in Mexico under squalid conditions, instituted the Muslim ban and poured money from the military into border wall construction. The administration is currently under fire for the deaths of migrant children and teens who have died while in government custody.

In a trove of emails provided to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, Miller cited and promoted white nationalist ideologies of white genocide, immigrants as criminals and eugenics, all of which were once considered fringe and extreme. White nationalists embrace white supremacist and white separatist views.

Three weeks after the emails were made public, Miller still is in the White House. Only Democrats have called on the White House to rid itself of white nationalism.

“It really has been jarring (that) the president’s enablers and Republicans have not stood up and said, Mr. President, this is unacceptable,” Escobar said in an interview. “I would implore my Republican colleagues to join us in calling for Stephen Miller’s resignation,” she said.

MIller’s ideology has wide reach, consequences

Escobar represents El Paso, where a gunman opened fire in a Walmart on Aug. 3, killing 22 people and injuring 26.

Police have said the suspect in the El Paso shootings told them his target was “Mexicans.” They also said he posted an anti-immigrant, anti-Latino screed that stated the attack was a “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Some of the language in the screed is consideredsimilar to words used by the president and state leaders.

After the shootings, Trump condemned white supremacy and said “hate has no place in America” but did not mention that Latinos were targeted or that the victims were predominantly Latino in his speech.

Miller is more than helping reshape immigration policy.

With Miller’s assistance, the administration is “doing an end run around Congress to dismantle every aspect of the immigration system” through executive actions and gutting regulations and replacing them with their own, said Doug Rand, an immigration policy adviser in the Obama White House and cofounder of Boundless Immigration, which uses technology to help immigrants obtain green cards and citizenship.

“Believe it or not, it’s possible to be to the right of President Trump on immigration, and that’s where Stephen Miller has spent his whole career,” Rand said. “He idealizes the 1924 law that banned immigrants from just about everywhere but Western Europe, and he is pulling every lever he can find throughout the federal government to accomplish the same outcome.”

Escobar has asked the Department of Homeland Security to audit its policies to determine which were influenced by Miller “to show the motivations of the administration’s immigration policies and shed light on the people that help craft them.”

Separately, 107 members of Congress signed a letter to Trump demanding he fire Miler.

“A documented white nationalist has no place in any administration, and especially not in such an influential position,” the Democratic congressional members said in the letter.

There also are several petitions calling for Miller’s resignation, including one started by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that had more than 130,000 signatures as of this week.

Miller previously worked for former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. — who served as Trump’s first attorney general — before joining the Trump campaign.

More tolerance for intolerance?

That he persists reflects a change in what the country and political leaders are willing to tolerate under a Trump administration.

At the start of the year, House Republicans removed Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from committee assignments after he said in an interview with The New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

When he said in 2013 that young immigrants had calves the size of cantaloupes, King drew condemnation from throughout the party, including from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both Florida Republicans. King has been repeatedly re-elected and is a Trump ally.

Diaz-Balart, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the three most senior Latino Republicans in Congress, either didn’t respond or declined to comment on the calls for Miller’s resignation.

Rubio and Diaz-Balart, both from immigrant families, have a moderate record on immigration. Miller even targeted Rubio in emails to get negative stories written about him by Breitbart. Rubio’s response has been that he knew Miller wasn’t a fan of his immigration policies.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The White House has defended Miller in previous statements to media, raising Miller’s Jewish background in that defense.

Ocasio-Cortez dismissed that defense in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes saying “the color of your skin and the identity you are born with does not absolve you of moral wrong.”

“I don’t think any public servant should weaponize their identity in order to advance white nationalist ideas. Period. Punto. I don’t care who you are,” Ocasio-Cortez said. Having Miller at the helm of U.S. immigration policy means policies “will become more fascistic and we cannot allow that to be us,” she said.

A rise in violent, white supremacist extremism

In his emails, Miller makes clear the esteem he holds for another period in the country, when President Calvin Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924 that severely restricted immigration from certain parts of the world. Coolidge is admired by white nationalists, according to the SPLC.

The act was the nation’s first comprehensive restrictive immigration policy that established the Border Patrol.

After being told that Fox radio host Mark Levin has said there should be no immigration for several years “for assimilation purposes,” Miller responds:

“Like Coolidge did. Kellyanne Conway poll says that is exactly what most Americans want after 40 years of non-stop record arrivals,” according to emails posted by SPLC. Conway is an adviser to Trump.

In referencing the 1924 act, Miller is “harkening to an era of racial violence,” said Monica Muñoz Martinez, author of “The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas.”

FBI statistics released in November showed an increase in hate crimes and violence against Latinos.

In a September report, the Department of Homeland Security said while the country still faces threats from foreign terrorist organizations, “unfortunately, the severity and number of domestic threats have also grown.”

The agency said there has been a “concerning” rise in attacks by people motivated by racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism, including white supremacist violent extremism, anti-government and anti-authority violent extremism and other ideologies.

White supremacist violent extremists can generally be characterized by hatred for immigrants and ethnic minorities, often combining these prejudices with virulent anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim views, the DHS report states.

In a Sept. 6, 2015, email, Miller suggested Breitbart write about “The Camp of the Saints,” SPLC reported. The novel’s theme is the end of white civilization by migrants who arrive from India.

Kathleen Belew, an expert on the white-power movement, said in an interview with NPR that Miller’s citation of the book is “clear evidence that this is a person who is immersed in trafficking in white nationalist ideology.”

“Voters across the country, constituents across the country who see their leaders standing in silence in the face of unprecedented racism and bigotry at the highest levels of government in our generation, they need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves: Is this acceptable?” Escobar said.

Source: After Stephen Miller’s white nationalist beliefs outouted, Latinos ask, ‘where’s the GOP outrage?’

The Creepy Racist Network Behind Trump Aide Stephen Miller

Creepy indeed, an entire ecosystem:

Even amid the impeachment drama, the tranche of emails unearthedthis month by the Southern Poverty Law Center has been attention-grabbing. The communications, sent in 2015 and 2016 by current Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, reveal a man deeply immersed in the most rancid tenets of white nationalism.

Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, called the evidence “incontrovertible.” U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote that “Miller, Trump’s architect of mass human rights abuses at the border (including child separation & detention camps w/child fatalities), has been exposed as a bona fide white nationalist.” Fifty-nine civil rights groups, saying Miller promotes “white supremacy, violent extremism, and hate,” sent a letter to President Trump demanding that he immediately dismiss his senior adviser.

But the story is much bigger than Stephen Miller. The real story is about a vast racist network that has a shocking degree of reach into mainstream Republican politics.

Miller has long been a close ally of the nativist empire built over decades by the late John Tanton, who was himself revealed as a white nationalist in private communications that became public years ago. Tanton’s many powerful groups—which include the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and Numbers USA—adopt varying degrees of camouflage, but at their heart are infected with Tanton’s view of America as a nation for white people.

FAIR, CIS, and Numbers USA form the core of what has grown into a sprawling American nativist lobby. FAIR officials have testified more than 100 times to Congress and CIS propaganda is regularly cited by politicians and other important players. Numbers USA played a key role in the defeat of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007.

And they are not alone. Tanton has founded or funded more than a dozen anti-immigration groups, and those groups have in turn worked with many smaller groups in a continuing battle for immigration restriction.

The most remarkable thing about the Tanton network is how seriously it is taken, despite the white nationalism at its core. The result is that virtually the entire immigration restriction movement is the fruit of a poisonous tree.

Tanton, who died age 85 in July, was plainspoken enough when he wasn’t in the public eye. He once wrote that he had “come to the view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” Elsewhere, he added, “Demography is destiny. We decline to bequeath to our children minority status in their own land.”

Tanton warned darkly of a “Latin onslaught,” and corresponded with white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, and a Klan attorney. He republished a wildly racist French novel, The Camp of the Saints, that describes an invasion of France by “swarthy hordes” of Indian refugees who end up taking over the country and consigning white women to special whorehouses for Hindu men. (Tanton’s edition of the book included an afterword from author Jean Raspail claiming that “the proliferation of other races dooms our race, my race, to extinction.”) He enthused over eugenics, the Nazi “science” of breeding a better human race, and once asked if a “local pair of sisters” with nine children could be forcibly sterilized.

“The larger world of the racist Tanton network constitutes a grave threat to rational and humane immigration policies that will continue long after Miller is gone.”

Above all, Tanton wanted to overturn the 1965 immigration law that ended a racist quota system instituted in 1924. He idolized the architect of the 1924 law, John Trevor Sr., a man who warned of “diabolical Jewish control” and distributed pro-Nazi propaganda. To Tanton, as he wrote to a FAIR board member, Trevor’s work should serve as “a guidepost to what we must follow again this time.”

Miller’s connection to Tanton’s world is a tight one.

He has repeatedly cited CIS, an organization listed by the SPLC as a hate group. In May 2015, Miller was the keynote speaker at a CIS awards ceremony, where he praised staffers extravagantly. In February 2017, he cited misleading CIS claims about terrorism to support Trump’s Muslim ban, and six months later he cited the group again while arguing for drastic reductions in legal immigration. He spoke to CIS and other nativist groups in a January 2018 phone conference.

Miller promoted The Camp of the Saints in some of his newly revealed emails, which were sent to a staffer at Breitbart News whom he was cultivating as a racist writer on immigration issues. He suggested the staffer read articles from American Renaissance, a racist journal published by Jared Taylor—a man Tanton also admired and who once asserted in his publication that “[w]hen blacks are left entirely to their own devices… civilization disappears.”

Miller also cited a racist website called VDARE, after Virginia Dare, said to be the first English person born in the New World. While VDARE is not a Tanton group, it was partly funded for years by Colcom, a foundation established by the late Cordelia Scaife May, who harbored racist and eugenicist views like Tanton’s. Between 2005 and 2017, Colcom lavished about $180 million on FAIR, CIS and NumbersUSA, according to a New York Times investigation.

Miller’s views are loathsome. But Miller is both a promoter and, to some extent, a product of a much wider racist network aimed at preventing non-white immigration into the United States.

It is possible, if unlikely, that the Miller brouhaha will lead to his demise as a presidential adviser. But the larger world of the racist Tanton network—a network that already has contributed several key officials to the Trump administration and has repeatedly worked to frustrate comprehensive immigration reform—constitutes a grave threat to rational and humane immigration policies that will continue long after Miller is gone.

Emails Outline Anti-Immigration Group’s Connection to Stephen Miller

Not a surprise:

Stephen Miller, President Trump’s hard-line immigration adviser, has long relied on data produced by the Center for Immigration Studies, a right-leaning think tank, to shape policy at the White House. Shortly after Mr. Trump was elected, Mr. Miller became well-known in the West Wing for putting printouts of studies published by the group on the president’s desk.

A new set of emails first published by a civil rights advocacy group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and shared with The New York Times illustrates the degree to which Mr. Miller used the work of the think tank, which advocates restricting immigration, to shape coverage at Breitbart News, a conservative news site, while he served as a communications aide to Jeff Sessions, the former Republican senator from Alabama.

“He was almost a de facto assignment editor for the political writing team at Breitbart,” said Kurt Bardella, the site’s former spokesman and now a frequent critic of the Trump administration.

In one instance in January 2016 — around the time he joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign as a senior policy adviser — Mr. Miller sent Breitbart employees a study from the think tank that tracked Muslim population growth in the United States: “Huge Surge in U.S. newborns named ‘Mohammed,’” Mr. Miller wrote in the subject line. A related story appeared on Breitbart the next day.

White House Sought Ways to Block Undocumented Immigrant Children From Attending Public Schools

Sigh…:

Some top aides to President Donald Trump sought for months for a way to give states the power to block undocumented immigrant children from enrolling in public schools — all part of the administration’s efforts to stem illegal crossings at the southern U.S. border.

Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller had been a driving force behind the effort as early as 2017, pressing cabinet officials and members of the White House Domestic Policy Council repeatedly to devise a way to limit enrollment, according to several people familiar with the matter. The push was part of a menu of ideas on immigration that could be carried out without congressional approval.

Ultimately, they abandoned the idea after being told repeatedly that any such effort ran afoul of a 1982 Supreme Court case guaranteeing access to public schools. But the consideration of denying hundreds of thousands of children access to education illustrates the breadth of the White House’s push to crack down on undocumented immigrants.

The strategy echoed the aim of a new rule the administration announced earlier this week that could block immigrants from becoming legal permanent residents if they’ve used government benefits. Any immigrant who had used Medicaid, public housing assistance or food stamps for more than 12 months over a 36-month period can be denied permanent resident status under the new rule.

The so-called public charge rule has sparked outrage among Democrats, who say it’s cruel. They have criticized Trump on a range of immigration policies, including a plan he announced last month to force Central American migrants to file for asylum in Guatemala instead of the U.S., a measure advocacy groups said would put their lives at risk. The debate over immigration is all but certain to play a central role in the 2020 elections.

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity when asked to comment on the story, dismissed accounts of Miller’s initiative as gossip from disgruntled bureaucrats but declined to identify any specific inaccuracy. The official also said undocumented immigrants placed an enormous strain on social services, including school districts.

Public Services

Starting in late 2017, Miller pressed hard to find a way to limit undocumented immigrants’ access to public services, including education, according to the people.

That effort included consideration last year of a guidance memo issued by the Education Department that would tell states they had the option to refuse students with an undocumented status to attend public schools from kindergarten through high school. A memo was never issued.

Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said: “The memo wasn’t issued because the secretary would never consider it.”

The White House’s push was dropped because members of the administration determined the plan could violate Plyler v. Doe, a 1982 Supreme Court case that prohibited states from denying free public education based on their immigration status.

The court, in a 5-4 ruling, said that denying migrant children an education would “foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our nation” and that punishing them for their parents’ actions “does not comport with fundamental conceptions of justice.”

‘Punish Little Kids’

Immigration activists said they were alarmed the White House would consider a policy change targeting migrant children.

“Such a radical policy change would be unlawful, unacceptable and un-American,” said Frank Sharry, who runs the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice. “The notion that we should punish little kids who go to school and pledge allegiance to our flag because Trump and Miller want to make America white again is incredibly cruel, dark and sinister.”

The president in May said he was concerned that abuse of the asylum system “strains our public school systems” and used funds that should go to American citizens.

“We’re using the funds that should be going to them,” Trump said. “And that shouldn’t happen. And it’s not going to happen in a very short period of time.”

During the presidency of Barack Obama, immigration rights groups raised concern about that schools systems were making it too hard for children to enroll by imposing rigid documentation requirements. In response, the administration issued guidance to school administrators to be more flexible in the documents they accept.

Residency Documents

The 2014 guidance said schools should accept utility bills or leases as substitute proof of residency after reports that some districts were demanding driver’s licenses or Social Security cards that could be unattainable for those in the country illegally.

“Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin,” then-Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement at the time.

Congress also attempted to pass legislation in 1996 that would have allowed states to block public education benefits to undocumented children or charge tuition, but the effort failed when former President Bill Clinton threatened to veto the bill.

Around 725,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students in U.S. public and private schools in 2014 were unauthorized to be in the country, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. That amounts to about 1.3% of total school enrollment.

The U.S. Census bureau said earlier this year that the cost spent by per pupil on elementary and secondary education was $12,201 annually, meaning spending on undocumented migrant students could exceed $8 billion annually.

Source: White House Sought Ways to Block Undocumented Immigrant Children From Attending Public Schools

ICYMI: The Intellectual Origins of Trump’s Chilling Immigration Plan

Worth reading:

Hunched forward in his chair, his fingertips and thumbs forming a familiar diamond shape, Donald Trump seemed to anticipate the question that Axios’s Jonathan Swan was about to ask him. “On immigration, some legal scholars believe you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution—” Swan began, before Trump cut him off gingerly. “With an executive order,” he interjected. “Exactly,” Swan replied. “Have you thought about that?” The president didn’t miss a beat. “Yes.”

The video teaser of the interview, which will appear in Axios’s forthcoming documentary news series on HBO, erupted in the middle of a news cycle driven by Trump’s inflammatory comments regarding immigration—his decision to dispatch the military to the U.S.-Mexico border, relentless fear-mongering over a migrant caravan of Central American “invaders,” and a white-supremacist terror attack inspired by Jewish aid for refugees. Trump, who is presiding over a midterm election next week that could determine control of the House, has been betting that a hard-line message on immigration will drive G.O.P. turnout. Yet even for a party that has largely aligned itself with the president’s nationalist rhetoric, what Trump proposed was radical and largely without precedent. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” the president continued in his conversation with Swan. “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.” His subsequent claim—that the U.S. is the only country that bestows citizenship upon anyone born within its jurisdiction—was false, but the racial anxiety he was tapping into is real. “[A] person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States . . . with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

The idea of revoking birthright citizenship has wended its way through Washington for years. Democrat Harry Reid, former Senate Majority Leader, proposed revoking birthright citizenship in 1993, before repeatedly apologizing for it. (“I didn’t understand the issue. I’m embarrassed that I made such a proposal,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.) On the right, fear of “anchor babies” has been exploited politically by even moderates such as Jeb Bush, who invoked the issue in 2015. But Trump’s decisive claim that he could get end birthright citizenship with the stroke of a pen caused critics to drop their jaws. “He obviously cannot do that,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, noting the intractable reality: birthright citizenship has been enshrined in the 14th Amendment for 150 years and would require no less than an act of Congress or a Supreme Court challenge to knock it down, an endeavor the vast majority of legal scholars consider impossible.

Regardless of whether it is a midterm stunt, Trump’s fever dream has very real origins in the scholarship of the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank based in Southern California—the front line, incidentally, of illegal border crossings. The current legal argument for revoking birthright citizenship, which had percolated on the left and right in the 90s, began gaining traction in 2006, when John C. Eastman, a Claremont Institute affiliate who is a professor at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, published an article for the Heritage Foundation laying out a three-point argument to challenge the authority of birthright citizenship. First, according to Eastman, at the time of the 1866 Civil Rights Act, children born to foreigners were “not entitled to claim the birthright citizenship” provided by the act. Since the Act eventually became the backbone of the 14th Amendment, therefore, the original interpretation of citizenship should take precedence. Second, he argued the reading of the 14th Amendment—that birthright citizenship can be bestowed upon anyone who is “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States—was overbroad; in Eastman’s reading, citizenship can only be bestowed upon people with “total and exclusive allegiance” to the country. If a child’s parents had not pledged fealty to America, either by becoming full citizens or establishing permanent residence, their loyalty to the Constitution would, by all definitions, be as temporary as that of their parents. (The common legal interpretation of ”subject to the jurisdiction” is that anyone who enters the country, no matter how briefly, are subject to U.S. laws.) Finally, he wrote, the policy was a medieval remnant inconsistent with the Founding and the notion that Americans need consent to be governed: “This consent must be present, either explicitly or tacitly, not just in the formation of the government, but also in the ongoing decision whether to embrace others within the social compact of the particular people.”

The next year, Edward J. Erler, a Claremont scholar and one of the original thinkers on birthright issues, published a bookwith two colleagues examining what reviewer and Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson deemed the problem of “massive illegal immigration from Mexico” for the American identity: “How did the founders and their successors deal with problems of being an American, and what are the effects of massive noncompliance with the laws of the United States?” Apart from several additional treatises they published, however, the idea never caught on with the rest of the conservative legal community. “It’s certainly in the idea of originalism, in that it relies that you understand the text at the time it was written, [but] there are a lot of people, even in that broadly conservative camp, that just reject it,” said Corey Brettschneider,professor of political science and public policy at Brown University, and the recent author of The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents. “There are a couple of scholars that are pushing it, but it’s not a mainstream view even in conservative circles. That’s because it’s kind of wacky.”

Over time, Eastman and Erler’s legal arguments were adopted in Washington as part of various efforts to curb illegal immigration. In 2010, a small group of Republican senators, including Jeff Sessions, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain, floated the idea of holding hearings on the issue; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed a similar plan in 2015. Most conservative figures in Congress, to say nothing of the pro-immigration donor class, balked. But when Trump launched his unconventional, nativist-pandering campaign, legal birthrightists held out hope that he could indeed become their political vessel to revoke the law. “Political pundits believe that Trump should not press such divisive issues as immigration and citizenship. It is clear, however, that he has struck a popular chord—and touched an important issue that should be debated no matter how divisive,” Erler wrote in National Review in August 2015. At the same time, Erler acknowledged foreseeable roadblocks. “Republicans want cheap and exploitable labor and Democrats want future voters,” he said.

By early 2016, Stephen Miller was forcefully pushing for an end to the birthright privilege, calling it the linchpin in the administration’s immigration policies. “Birthright citizenship really is the ultimate magnet for illegal immigration,” he told the Daily Caller that February, outlining the traditional conservative fears of chain migration, anchor children, and the decreased likelihood of deportation. “[It’s] an open, worldwide invitation to ignore America’s immigration laws and an absolute perversion, misinterpretation, misapplication of the 14th Amendment.” Miller then suggested that Trump could do it more easily than the media or legal scholars imagined: “You could do it through a variety of different means, whether it be legislatively, whether it be through potential guidance that’s issued.”

According to Axios, the Trump administration had been quietly working on this policy for months, and Trump himself was surprised that Swan brought it up in their interview. (“I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one.”) But the revelation of the plan—only weeks away from the midterm election, and in the middle of Trump’s furious posturing on the migrant caravan winding its way to the southern border—immediately won plaudits among several of Trump’s allies, with Lindsey Graham announcing that he was completely on board. More sober-minded Republicans told Politico that they opposed Trump taking action via executive order, and would perhaps try to tailor the breadth of the amendment’s application in Congress. Nevertheless, ending birthright citizenship unilaterally, they concurred, was a bad idea. “As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process,” said Ryan. “But where we obviously totally agree with the president is getting at the root issue here, which is unchecked illegal immigration.”

The Talmudic ponderings of Congress, however, may be less important than the energy this will automatically inject into the election—not just for Democrats enraged about Trump’s treatment of illegal immigrants, but also for conservatives prioritizing border control. Indeed, if a talk Erler delivered in April at Hillsdale College is any indication, birthright citizenship is only one facet of the great threat of political correctness, progressive equalization, and the horrors of plurality looming over the American experiment. “Greater diversity means inevitably that we have less in common, and the more we encourage diversity the less we honor the common good,” he said at the time, calling multiculturalism “a solvent that dissolves the unity and cohesiveness of a nation.” He condemned Republicans for caving so quickly to any accusations of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. “Only President Trump seems undeterred by the tyrannous threat that rests at the core of political correctness,” he explained.

Source: The Intellectual Origins of Trump’s Chilling Immigration Plan

USA – Miller Time: Family Separation Policy is Just the Beginning

Unclear whether the current pushback will make a difference :

No matter how the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” border enforcement initiative plays out – and at the moment the optics are looking mighty bad – it’s just the beginning. According to Politico, domestic policy advisor and speechwriter Stephen Miller, the principal keeper of the nativist flame for Trump, has been heading up an effort to plan a whole series of steps to keep “the base” assured that the 45th president is going to restrict legal and illegal immigration alike by hook or by crook:

“Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the Justice Department, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.”

The big idea is to ensure that Trump doesn’t have to depend on any immigration legislation, or any big policy goal like the border wall, to claim he’s kept his promises to the base. The offensive Miller is planning involves things the administration can do on its own.

“Among the fresh ideas being circulated: tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for any welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries.”

And yes, the midterm base-stimulus plan included “zero tolerance,” and a pending DHS rule that would lead to the rescinding of the 1997 court settlement placing a limit on how migrant children can be locked up, which the administration thinks is the real source of its current troubles. So if Team Trump moves ahead on this front, they do have some additional plans beyond defending the indefensible.

The main thing to understand is that the White House did not blunder into the current furor over “zero tolerance” and family separation; the president’s people really, really want to send signals that Trump has turned immigration policy on its head even without congressional cooperation.

“Miller, who was instrumental to Trump’s early travel ban — which, like the border separations, triggered widespread public outrage and was put into effect without sufficient logistical planning — is among those who see the border crisis as a winning campaign issue.

“That is the fundamental political contrast and political debate that is unfolding right now,” he said in an interview with Breitbart News published on May 24. “The Democratic Party is at grave risk of completely marginalizing itself from the American voters by continuing to lean into its absolutist anti-enforcement positions.””

So don’t be surprised to learn that no matter what Trump decides to do on “zero tolerance,” he’s by no means going to shy away from the impression that he believes undocumented immigrants are enemies of America who must be repelled.”

Source: Miller Time: Family Separation Policy is Just the Beginning