Despite President Trump’s insistence that the policy of separating kids from their parents at the southern border is either out of his hands or somehow the Democrats’ fault, there is no denying that the decision to enforce these draconian measures came from inside the White House. We know this because, while Congress passes laws, the executive branch of the federal government is charged with enforcing them, and the Constitution gives the president and his administration tremendous flexibility over how best to do that.
The Department of Justice ostensibly oversees the process of devising initiatives and implementing enforcement policies across the many agencies it controls, but in reality they’re just one piece of the president’s political infrastructure inside the West Wing.
In most administrations – and in this White House in particular – orders come down from the West Wing to the Attorney General, who then works to implement them department-wide. No matter how strong or independent a particular Attorney General may be, the DOJ doesn’t typically develop or enforce any policies unless the president gives the okay.
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Policy shifts of this magnitude in particular don’t happen on a whim, not even with this president who can make it appear like he’s coming up with them on the spot. These policies and enforcement procedures are researched, debated, and refined across multiple White House offices and with input from various deputies before a president green-lights their implementation.
Which means someone very senior on the president’s staff dreamed-up, codified, packaged, and convinced President Trump that ripping kids out of the arms of their parents was not only permissible under the law, but that it would be politically advantageous. Someone actually said, “Mr. President, this is something we can do. It’s totally legal, it helps us leverage our position, our supporters will love it, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop you.”
We now know who that someone is, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this White House that the mastermind is Stephen Miller, the white nationalist who wormed his way from alt-tight agitator before and during the campaign to Trump’s Senior Policy Advisor.
“For George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the idea of crying children torn from their parents’ arms was simply too inhumane — and too politically perilous — to embrace as policy,” The New York Times reported Saturday. “But advocates inside this administration, most prominently Stephen Miller, never gave up on the idea.”
The Times interviewed Miller last week as the tragedy on the southern border was unfolding, and he showed no remorse for the chaos and the calamity that the administration’s so called ‘zero-tolerance’ approach has caused. Here’s what he had to say, per the Times:
“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement,” he told The Times. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”
Whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night, Steve.
You can read the entire New York Times expose here.