Trump Picks Miller, Setting Up Potential Clash with Kushner on Immigration

Franco Ordoñez, McClatchy, April 9, 2010

President Donald Trump’s choice of Stephen Miller to lead on immigration sets up a potential policy clash with one of the most influential people in the White House, the president’s son-in-law.

The move comes as Trump, focused on challenges in securing the border, sent Jared Kushner back to the drawing board to develop new ideas on immigration reform after being unsatisfied with the results of an initial proposal for a legal immigration framework, according to two sources familiar with the talks.

It’s the latest power shift in just a few months after Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, had emerged as the new figurehead trying to come up with a plan to fix the legal immigration system following his success on criminal justice legislation.

“The clock is ticking on all this stuff,” said a former Trump official who remains in contact with people inside the White House. “There is no way that Stephen can continue to push a very hard right restrictionist policy and for Jared to be pushing a middle-of-the-road, slightly left of center policy, and something doesn’t come in conflict.”

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The Kushner team is expected to try and develop a new proposal on legal immigration reform, but Trump was clearly frustrated with the original legal immigration proposal and felt strongly that the administration’s focus needed to be on border security, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

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The White House pushed back against the idea of any differences in goals between Miller and Kushner.

“President Trump alone sets immigration policy that’s designed to solve the humanitarian crisis at our border, prevent illegal entry into our country and protect the American people – there’s no daylight between the President’s team as they work to implement that agenda,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told McClatchy

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An advisor to the Department of Homeland Security said the reality is there is “a head on a platter mentality,” regardless of whether the issue is legal immigration or illegal immigration. The advisor said whatever reductions on immigration can’t be made to illegal immigration would likely be made to legal immigration.

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Those who know Miller say not to underestimate the senior advisor to Trump and that he is more strategic than people realize. He will not jeopardize his position in a dispute with Kushner, who as a family member is considered untouchable.

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It appeared to be a shift away from the priorities of 2017, Trump’s first year in office, that sought to prevent the influx of foreign workers who could displace American workers in favor of a new approach preferred by more traditional Republicans, particularly those close to the corporate sector who are desperate to attract more foreign workers to fill U.S. factories and tech hubs.

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Miller’s recent ascendancy on immigration is seen as a return to the core issues that got Trump elected.

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