Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller pushed a “secret” plan to embed immigration agents at a refugee agency that cares for unaccompanied migrant kids, The Washington Post experiences.
Miller, who has argued that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was being exploited by households hiring smugglers to convey their children over the border, pushed for the agency to permit embedded ICE agents to acquire info from the youngsters’s mother and father to goal them for deportation, in accordance to the report.
Senior HHS officers rejected Miller’s plan, six present and former officers instructed The Post, however agreed to let ICE agents acquire fingerprints and biometric information from adults selecting up kids at the amenities. ICE might then use the information to goal them for deportation.
The plan, which has not been introduced, is meant to get round legal guidelines that bar the refugee agency from getting used for deportation enforcement. Past Trump administration schemes to permit ICE to have entry to the refugee program had been met with opposition from senior officers over considerations that it might discourage households from claiming their kids out of concern of arrest.
ICE and HHS officers instructed The Post that the knowledge gathered can be used to display adults claiming kids for “red flags” and legal convictions. But the officers claimed that the information wouldn’t be used to arrest kinfolk who come ahead to declare unaccompanied kids.
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox instructed the outlet that the agency has higher instruments than HHS to vet sponsors of the unaccompanied kids, “including better capabilities to identify fraudulent documents or documents obtained by fraud.”
Miller developed the plan after Congressional Democrats sought to block an analogous scheme that led to a drop within the variety of sponsors claiming kids and an inflow within the variety of kids in authorities custody. A 2019 funding bill explicitly barred the Department of Homeland Security from utilizing youngster sponsor information for ICE deportation goal lists.
The measure mentioned that no federal cash “may be used by the Secretary of Homeland Security to place in detention, remove, refer for a decision whether to initiate removal proceedings, or initiate removal proceedings against a sponsor, potential sponsor, or member of a household of a sponsor or potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien child.”
Cox claimed that the brand new plan doesn’t violate the regulation. He instructed The Post that after a sponsor’s software is rejected “that individual is no longer considered to be a sponsor or potential sponsor” and might due to this fact be arrested.
Cox acknowledged that this system might lead to kids being left in authorities custody for longer intervals of time however insisted that the elevated screening “should take precedence over speed of placement to what may ultimately be an unsafe environment for the child.”
The plan comes after earlier makes an attempt to permit info sharing between ORR and ICE had been met with opposition at the highest ranks at HHS. Miller developed the brand new plan with ORR head Jonathan Hayes, however HHS officers balked at prime ICE official Caleb Vitiello being briefly assigned to work at ORR. Vitiello had labored with Miller within the White House. White House officers have groused that HHS officers have repeatedly “sabotaged” their plans, in accordance to The Post.
Miller has more and more gained affect over the Trump administration’s immigration coverage after he led a purge of senior DHS officials earlier this 12 months. At the identical time, more than 100 Democrats have referred to as for his ouster after former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh leaked hundreds of emails displaying Miller selling white nationalist and white supremacist shops whereas working as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
“What Stephen Miller despatched to me in these emails has turn out to be coverage at the Trump administration,” McHugh told the Southern Poverty Law Center, which obtained the emails.
Miller denied that he was a white nationalist in an interview with Fox Business on Friday, calling the allegation “profoundly offensive and completely outrageous.”
Miller mentioned that Democrats had been those who had been bigoted.
“It’s an attempt on the part of the Democratic party to attack and demonize a Jewish staffer, and make no mistake, there is a deep vein of anti-Semitism that is running through today’s Democratic Party,” he claimed, regardless of his personal emails displaying him extensively selling hateful content material disparaging individuals of shade.
On Friday, a gaggle of 25 Jewish Democratic members of Congress referred to as on President Donald Trump to hearth Miller.
“His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying for a authorities worker,” they mentioned in a letter to the president obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We are additionally deeply troubled that your Administration is claiming that the authentic criticism of Miller is anti-Semitic just because Miller is Jewish. Nothing could possibly be farther from the reality.”