Oct 4, 2019

Stephen Miller's secret think tank

Stephen Miller "was running a sort of secret immigration think tank out of the West Wing," the N.Y. Times' Julie Davis and Mike Shear report in "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration," out Tuesday.

Quick take: Miller is Trump's top immigration adviser and the engineer of the administration's hardline policies. Miller allegedly pushed for the resignation of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen because she pointed out legal barriers to Trump's immigration plans.

What they're saying in the book:

"The group, which usually met on Fridays, was part of a quiet but methodical effort... to seize control of the machinery of government and use it to make good on the president’s immigration agenda ... Miller moved his task force’s meetings to his small office on the top floor of the West Wing, jamming 15 or 20 people around a conference table..."
"They scribbled their plans on large white flip charts, and the list of what they had to do grew longer and longer. They discussed overhauling the way the United States admits skilled workers, revamping ICE’s enforcement priorities and strategies for enhancing visa security. One early assignment from Miller was for the group to scour the immigration statutes and look for grounds of in-admissibility that were not being enforced."
"Another target was an old but ill-defined standard that said the country did not have to admit anyone who was likely to become dependent on the government for survival. That one would ultimately become an obsession for Miller."

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McAleenan receives award from El Salvador ahead of DHS departure

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan with El Salvador's Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill, Oct. 28. Photo: DHS

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan received the National Order of José Matías Delgado award from the government of El Salvador on Monday morning, a thank you for his key role in advocating for Salvadorans in the U.S. under the Temporary Protected Status program.

The big picture: McAleenan, whose last day as acting DHS secretary is Thursday, is married to a Salvadoran native and has sought to blunt the humanitarian impact of some of the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies, even as his department has carried them out. The White House has yet to announce his replacement.

Go deeperArrowOct 28, 2019

The number of children split from their parents at U.S.-Mexico border tops 5,400

An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hall at a shelter in San Diego. Photo: Gregory Bull/AP

The number of children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by U.S. immigration authorities since July 2017 is now 5,460, according to ACLU data reported by AP.

Why it matters: Obtaining a comprehensive count of the children separated at the border was a difficult task because of poor government accounting, especially in the earliest days of the family separation policy. The government has also struggled to properly keep track of parents in order to be able to reunite them with their children.

Go deeperArrowOct 25, 2019

GitHub and Microsoft employees protest renewed contract with ICE

Anti-ICE protestors in New York City in September targeted businesses profiting from the crisis at the border. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

GitHub employees sent a letter to their CEO on Wednesday demanding the tech company drop its recently renewed, $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing human rights concerns, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Employees from Microsoft are circulating a letter endorsing their Github subsidiary to cancel the contract after GitHub CEO Nat Friedman stood by the platform's renewal with the government agency, Bloomberg reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 10, 2019