Stephen Miller

White House Senior Policy Advisor and former Communications Director for Senator Jeff Sessions

Donald Trump’s chief immigration advisor has been working with anti-immigrant extremists since he was in high school with the goal of restricting as much immigration to the U.S. as possible. Miller has repeatedly praised and cited the work of anti-immigrant groups and helped to implement their policy recommendations in the Trump Administration, targeting immigrants, refugees and Muslims. According to The New York Times, Miller called the “zero-tolerance” policy that resulted in family separations “a simple decision, ” and in August 2019 the Washington Post reported that he had since continued to defend the measure. In many ways, Miller serves as a bridge between the anti-immigrant movement and the Administration.

  • Stephen Miller, who was one of the first staffers to join the Trump presidential campaign has been railing against immigration and immigrants for decades, and has used his power and influence in the Trump Administration to restrict as much immigration as possible.
  • As White House chief policy advisor, Stephen Miller has been a driving factor behind the Trump Administration’s harsh immigration agenda including the repeal of DACA, the Muslim bans, expansion of public charge, restricting refugee entries, militarization of the border, family separation, cruel asylum policies, and cuts to legal immigration.
  • By bringing Stephen Miller and then- Sen. Jeff Sessions onto his campaign, Donald Trump brought their years-long alliance with anti-immigrant groups who helped to create a dangerous policy framework for the candidate, which included proposals such as ending birthright citizenship, a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” and the repeal of DACA. This framework would go on to serve as the foundation for the Trump Administration’s actions on immigration.
  • During his time in the White House, Miller has enlisted his alliance with anti-immigrant groups in order to force manufactured crises, in an effort to make life miserable for immigrants in the U.S..
  • Before joining the Trump campaign as an advisor in January of 2016, Miller worked for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who brought him on as press secretary shortly after an interview when she learned they were reading the same anti-Muslim book.
  • As one of Sessions’s and then Trump’s most trusted policy advisors, Miller has played a significant role in influencing opposition to bipartisan immigration measures including protections for Dreamers and TPS holders and the “Gang of Eight” bill in 2013.
  • Miller began his relationship with racist extremists at a young age and according to Haaretz, anti-Muslim speaker David Horowitz served as Miller’s mentor during college and introduced him to Jeff Sessions.
  • While still in high school, Miller helped bring Horowitz to speak at his school and published several pieces decrying so-called liberal indoctrination for the Horowitz-published FrontPage Magazine.
  • Miller would go on to attend Duke University where he met white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.

Anti-immigrant Views

  • During a March 2016 episode of a Breitbart radio program with Stephen Bannon, Miller called for an “immigration-off period.”
  • Miller reportedly told a communications aide: “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched America’s soil.”
  • During his time at Duke, Miller authored several controversial op-eds claiming that former Sen. Ted Kennedy was “a traitor” for opposing torture, and that multiculturalism is akin to “segregation.”
  • While at Duke, Miller and Richard Spencer, who would go on to become a white nationalist leader, invited VDARE founder Peter Brimelow to speak at the university.
  • At a May 2015 awards ceremony hosted by CIS and honoring Breitbart reporter Neil Munro, Miller, who was a keynote speaker, praised Munro, CIS’s Jessica Vaughan, and Steven Camarota. Camarota, for his part, has also praised Miller, notably in a Washington Post interview in August of 2019. 

Anti-immigrant Activity

  • As the Trump Administration’s chief policy advisor, Stephen Miller has been a driving factor behind President Trump’s harsh immigration agenda including the repeal of DACA, the Muslim bans, public charge, reduction in refugee cap, the border wall and family separation at the Southern border. According to The New York Times, Miller, who helped devise “zero-tolerance” with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Gene Hamilton, called the policy that resulted in children being ripped from their parents “a simple decision.”
  • According to current and former Trump Administration officials, Miller is “obsessed” with ramping up deportations. One former official told the Washington Post Miller “is singularly focused on how to get people out of the country.” 
  • Before joining the Trump campaign, and serving as chief policy advisor to President Trump, Miller, supported Sessions’ efforts in the U.S. Senate to derail bipartisan immigration reform and to make life for immigrants living in the U.S. as difficult as possible. 
  • One of the ways Miller has been able to push the President to adopt so many harsh and unpopular immigration policies is through the political appointees he has placed at agencies across the administration including at DHS and the DOJ. According to the Washington Post Miller has placed calls at DHS and other agencies, where he gives “orders to employees several layers beneath the Cabinet secretaries.”
  • In addition to pushing President Trump to end protections for DACA recipients, he attempted to leverage their safety for cuts to legal immigration, humanitarian protections and harsh interior enforcement measures. 
  • As part of his goal of ending immigration into the U.S., Miller helped to devise the RAISE Act,  along  with Steve Bannon, Julie Kirchner and Jeff Sessions, according to reports. The RAISE Act, a bill co-authored by Tom Cotton which if enacted would cut legal immigration by 50%.
  • One of Miller’s top priorities is pushing through a harsh public charge rule. According to the New York Times, he told high level officials that they “ought to be working on this regulation all day every day. It should be the first thought you have when you wake up. And it should be the last thought you have before you go to bed. And sometimes you shouldn’t go to bed.” 
  • The continued chaos that has marred the Trump Administration’s immigration policy, is evident not only in the measures they have adopted but in the constant staff turnover within leadership positions at DHS and DOJ. One of the more recent “purges” took place in the spring of 2019, and was reportedly related to Miller’s impatience with the rule making process delaying the implementation of the public charge measure.
  • The former Sessions staffer played a role in pushing through the first version of the Trump Administration’s Muslim ban, which also saw the refugee program suspended indefinitely.
  • Similarly, the chief policy advisor is partly responsible for the dramatic decrease in the annual number of refugees the U.S. accepts – which is at its lowest level in 30 years.
  • Like many in the organized anti-immigrant movement, Miller has worked to demonize and criminalize immigrants and immigration. The New York Times wrote in 2019, “Immigrant crime would be a running theme in Mr. Miller’s career, and his emphasis on the issue borrowed from the broader restrictionist movement.” Miller was a catalyst behind the Trump Administration’s VOICE program and according to Politico, during one internal meeting, a former National Security Council official recalled Miller saying “We must save Americans from these immigrant criminals!” 
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