As we continue to reel and respond to the current public health crisis, we have a few questions:
- Why is the Trump administration pressing the Supreme Court to end DACA on an expedited basis, as 27,000 DACA recipients work on the front lines in healthcare jobs? Putting 700,000 families on a path to deportation would be a destabilizing shock to American families, communities and institutions at a time of crisis.
- Why did the Trump administration backtrack on the announcement by ICE Director Matt Albence that ICE would focus immigration enforcement on public safety threats during the coronavirus, and why is Stephen Miller (presumed, not confirmed) leaking to Politico that Albence is hanging by a thread because of his announcement?
- Why is the Trump administration blocking dozens of immigrant physicians in the military from providing critically-needed medical services during this moment of need?
- Why is the Trump administration insisting that numerous immigration courts remain open and why are they keeping tens of thousands of immigrants in crowded detention facilities when public health concerns dictate that courts be closed and detention facilities be emptied?
- Why is the Trump administration exploiting the public health crisis to achieve a long-sought goal of fully gutting any chance for would-be refugees to apply for safety through a fair asylum system?
- Why is the Trump administration leaking the word that they plan to send even more troops to our borders when it’s the U.S. that has the most coronavirus cases in the world?
- Why is the Trump administration, following the President’s announcement of a national public health crisis, ramping up rather than suspending construction of Trump’s border wall?
The answer is the same for all these questions: Stephen Miller.
Trump sets the direction and Miller moves the chess pieces. Together they seem more interested in setting Trump up for reelection than in saving lives throughout America.
A Politico story published yesterday is revealing. Entitled Immigration chief on thin ice for adopting Obama’s stance during the crisis, it sure gives off the odor of a story planted by Stephen Miller. The anonymously-sourced piece is a warning to acting ICE Director Matthew Albence. Albence may be a virulently anti-immigrant hardliner — recently he pledged to deport DACA recipients if SCOTUS rules against DACA — but he committed the cardinal sin of announcing a reasonable policy during the current crisis. He said ICE would prioritize public safety threats, rather than continue with the strategy of going after and terrorizing one and all. As Jonathan Blitzer of The New Yorker wrote in response, “This sort of shot-across-the-bow messaging (leaking to news outlets that Albence is in a tight spot) is a clear window into how Miller operates.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Trump has long outsourced immigration policy to his in-house racist, Stephen Miller. But if there ever was a moment to prioritize the war on the coronavirus over the war on immigrants, this is it.
We are at the beginning of a once-in-a-century pandemic. Common sense and the recommendations of public health experts dictate that we socially distance and reduce the spread of this killer virus — to immigrants, refugees and DHS staff alike.
At a time when immigrant workers are providing essential services — from food production to healthcare — it is appalling that this administration is focused on terrorizing immigrants in hopes of juicing 2020 turnout. With these two – Miller and Trump – there is no bottom, and cruelty is the point.