Amanda Holpuch, Guardian, October 28, 2020
The architect of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy, senior adviser Stephen Miller, is said to have a drawer full of executive orders ready to be signed in “shock and awe” style if Trump is re-elected.
The former homeland security department chief of staff Miles Taylor said this wishlist was reserved for the second term because it included policies that were too unpopular for a president seeking re-election.
This comes as no surprise to those who have watched and worried as legal pathways to US immigration shut under Trump, and who wonder not just about four more years of him as president, but also about four more years with Miller at his side.
Jean Guerrero, the author of the Miller biography Hatemonger, told the Guardian: “There’s a number of things they have been cautious about because of the legal and political risks in the first term and I think that in a second term you would see Stephen Miller get much freer rein when it comes to his wishlist of items.”
Those items are expected to include attempting to eliminate birthright citizenship, making the US citizenship test more difficult to pass, ending the program which protects people from deportation when there is a crisis is their country (Temporary Protected Status) and slashing refugee admissions even further, to zero.
Miller wields an unusual amount of power in the administration, particularly the homeland security department (DHS), which is tasked with responding to threats from natural disasters, cybersecurity and terrorism. It is also the base of the country’s immigration agencies, which Miller has zeroed in on with a relentless focus.
He was a driving force behind a purge of homeland security officials early last year, which has left some positions in the department vacant or held by temporary officeholders for more than a year. He has even been known to intervene in specific immigration cases by contacting low-level staffers.
“Stephen Miller wanted the leadership to constantly have immigration and border issues as their top priority, and he ensured that happened by manipulating the bureaucracy, by constantly invoking Trump’s demands, Trump’s desires,” said Guerrero, an investigative journalist. “The cabinet secretaries are aware of Stephen Miller’s relationship with the president.”