Donald Trump’s mass deportation dragnet has never about immigrants “getting in line,” it’s never been about following the law, it’s never about any of the other thousand bullshit claims he and other members of his administration have made. It’s always been about making America white, and it’s been Stephen Miller’s personal crusade, a crusade that could now entangle even more people in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) claws.
NBC News’s Julia Ainsley reports that Miller is the architect behind another upcoming anti-immigrant proposal, expected to be unveiled soon, “that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare.” Miller’s reported proposal—“which would not need congressional approval”—could penalize legal immigrants who have accessed benefits for their U.S. citizen kids, like children’s health insurance and food stamps.
“Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers say it would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected,” Ainsley continues. “They say it would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.” But, this was always the plan. It was never only about undocumented immigrants, it was always about slowly chipping away at groups until slowly anyone non-white becomes at risk—and it’s always been Miller’s plan.
Miller joined the administration as a former aide to another white supremacist, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, but he was radicalized as far back as middle school, reportedly disowning a childhood pal for being Latino. This is who is now driving our immigration policy. “I don’t think that most Americans understand that a 33-year-old individual with connections to white supremacists is actually crafting policies that are going to literally destroy our country and what we stand for,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state said in June. “I have demanded that Stephen Miller be fired. He should not be in the White House.”
“This will be yet another dangerous, desperate and cynical strategy aimed at kicking immigrants out of America and keeping Republicans in power,” said immigrant rights leader Frank Sharry. “In an unprecedented and reckless fashion, Trump and Miller are using the full power of the state to enact cruel policies aimed at new Americans, many of whom have strong roots in American communities. They do so to cynically divide Americans in hopes of mobilizing disaffected white voters and blaming stagnant wages, rising healthcare costs, defunded schools and threats to Social Security and Medicare on ‘the other.’”
Every day that Miller remains in the White House with access to Trump’s ear is another day of danger. Miller has been the architect or leading voice behind the Muslim bans, the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the migrant family separation policy at the border, and now, quite possibly, a plan to clamp down on U.S. citizenship for people who are already here legally, because pointing fingers at immigrants is the only election year strategy Republicans have these days. None of these policies may affect you, but every day is another chance for Miller to find a way that might.