November 2, 2020
He’d like to make America a private club: President Donald Trump’s Senior Adviser Stephen Miller has fleshed out plans to rev up Trump’s restrictive immigration agenda if the POTUS wins re-election next week—offering a stark contrast to the platform of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, NBC News reports.
In a 30-minute phone interview on October 29 with NBC News, Miller—as the unofficial “bouncer” for the current Administration—outlined four major priorities: limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing so-called sanctuary cities, expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants, and slapping new limits on work visas.
The objective, he said, is “raising and enhancing the standard for entry” to the United States.
Some of the plans would require legislation. Others could be achieved through executive action, which the Trump administration has relied on heavily in the absence of a major immigration bill.
“In many cases, fixing these problems and restoring some semblance of sanity to our immigration programs does involve regulatory reform,” Miller said. “Congress has delegated a lot of authority.”
What he will not commit to fix: In the near term, Miller would not obligate the Administration to lifting the freeze on new green cards and visas that’s set to expire at the end of the year—saying it would be “entirely contingent” on governmental analysis of factors in the state of the job market.
Asked whether he would support reinstating the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that led to families’ being separated, Miller said the Trump administration is “100 percent committed to a policy of family unity,” but he described the policy as one that would keep families together in immigration detention by changing what is known as the Flores settlement agreement.
Over the past year, the administration has sought to amend the Flores agreement, which says that children can’t be held over 20 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention. If it succeeds, immigrant families could be detained indefinitely as they await their day in immigration court.
In addition, the Administration wants to maintain its limitations on asylum. On Trump’s watch, asylum grants have plummeted. Miller wants to keep it that way. He said a second-term Trump administration would seek to expand “burden-sharing” deals with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador that cut off pathways to the U.S. for asylum-seekers.
“The president would like to expand that to include the rest of the world,” Miller said. “And so if you create safe third partners in other continents and other countries and regions, then you have the ability to share the burden of asylum-seekers on a global basis.”
In line with that goal there will be continued crackdowns on sanctuary cities. Miller noted in his interview with NBC that the Administration has withheld some grants to sanctuary cities.
That includes enhanced screening methods and more information-sharing among agencies to vet applicants seeking admission into the country. The U.S. already looks for ties to terrorism and extremist groups. Miller wants to go further by vetting the “ideological sympathies or leanings” of visa applicants to gauge their potential for recruitment by radicals.
That may include changing the interview process—adding interviews or talking to people close to applicants about their beliefs.
“That’s going to be a major priority,” he said. “It’s going to require a whole government effort. It’s going to require building a very elaborate and very complex screening mechanism.”
Finally, Miller told NBC, a second-term Trump administration would finalize efforts to curtail use of guest-worker programs like H-1B visas—including by eliminating the lottery system used in the process when applications exceed the annual quota and by giving priority to those being offered the highest wages.
He said Trump would pursue a “points-based entry system” for American visa grants aimed at admitting only those who “can contribute the most to job creation and economic opportunity” while preventing “displacement of U.S. workers.”
By contrast, the Biden campaign seeks to stop the xenophobia that Miller is spreading on behalf of the Administration.
Biden campaign Director of Latino Media Jen Molina said that, if elected, Biden would restore DACA, unveil legislation in his first 100 days with a path to citizenship for undocumented people, protect borders in a humane way and end “shameful practices like family separation” that have left children stranded.
“We are going to win this election so that people like Stephen Miller don’t get the chance to write more xenophobic policies that dishonor our American values,” Molina said. “Unlike Trump, Vice President Biden knows that immigrants make America stronger and helped build this country.”
Research contact: @NBCNews