White House Advisor Stephen Miller Has Consolidated His Control of the Refugee, Asylum and Immigration Agenda
Today, Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the New York Times reports that Stephen Miller is in the driver’s seat, as the White House prepares to sharply reduce the number of refugees resettled in America — to the lowest levels in nearly 40 years. As she notes, “Another steep reduction in refugees would be the latest piece of a multipronged effort by the president — devised and driven in large part by Mr. Miller — not just to crack down on illegal immigration, but also to fundamentally change the face of legal immigration in America.”
The entire piece, which gives a terrifying look into the Miller-controlled White House, is available online here and excerpted below:
The White House is considering a second sharp reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States, picking up where President Trump left off in 2017 in scaling back a program intended to offer protection to the world’s most vulnerable people, according to two former government officials and another person familiar with the talks.
This time, the effort is meeting with less resistance from inside the Trump administration because of the success that Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy adviser and an architect of his anti-immigration agenda, has had in installing allies in key positions who are ready to sign off on deep cuts.
Last year, after a fierce internal battle that pitted Mr. Miller, who advocated a limit as low as 15,000, against officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Pentagon, Mr. Trump set the cap at 45,000, a historic low. Under one plan currently being discussed, no more than 25,000 refugees could be resettled in the United States next year, a cut of more than 40 percent from this year’s limit. It would be the lowest number of refugees admitted to the country since the creation of the program in 1980.
The program’s fate could hinge on Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. His department has traditionally been a strong advocate for the refugee program, but Mr. Pompeo is now being advised by two senior aides who are close to Mr. Miller and share his hard-line approach, according to the people briefed on the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal internal deliberation about a decision that has yet to be completed.
….Another steep reduction in refugees would be the latest piece of a multipronged effort by the president — devised and driven in large part by Mr. Miller — not just to crack down on illegal immigration, but also to fundamentally change the face of legal immigration in America.
The approach would move away from a system that prioritizes diversity, family ties and providing protection for persecuted people and toward one singularly focused on merit and skills. The president’s periodic efforts to pressure Congress to enact such policies have gone nowhere, but he has used his executive power to make changes where he can.
The refugee resettlement process is one such area; under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president determines a ceiling for refugee admissions each year in consultation with Congress.
But this year, after 18 months in the West Wing and a record level of turnover in the administration, Mr. Miller has succeeded in surrounding himself with figures who may be more amenable to gutting refugee admissions.