Stephen Miller, Donald Trump's 33-year old senior policy adviser, is rumored to have written
a good bit of the speech that the President delivered last night from the Oval Office. Taken by itself, the speech and its horror-heavy rhetoric would suggest that the Trump administration and Miller take issue only with illegal immigration to the United States, the sort they believe authorities could stem with a physical barrier.
This is not true. For Stephen Miller, advocating for the border wall and railing against illegal immigrants is but one part of the transformation he envisions for the United States and its immigration system. The other parts have to do with legal immigrants and crippling the programs that allow them to come into the country.
Miller, whose antipathy for immigration dates back to his high school years (when he wrote
editorials critical of Hispanic students while blasting bilingual high school announcements) and is himself descended from immigrants, has gone so far as to associate
immigration, as he said in a June 2016 Trump rally, with "heartbreak," "heartache" and "needless death." In August of 2018, Miller's uncle denounced him
as an "architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family's life in this country." A former National Security Council official told Politico
in November that Miller said at one meeting: "We must save Americans from these immigrant criminals!" Despite evidence
showing that immigrants commit crimes at far lower rates than native-born Americans, Miller's persona and policy objectives make it clear that, to him, a "fixed" immigration system is one in which as few immigrants as possible cross America's borders, illegally or otherwise.