A few days ago, after overwhelming and largely bipartisan backlash, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, ending separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump said at the time, according to ABC.
An (in)famous immigration hardliner, President Trump has gone back and forth on the issue, at least rhetorically, dancing on the line between “very strong borders” and “keeping families together.” According to the New York Times, as well as the Washington Post, President Trump was not the driving force behind this policy. It was, in fact, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, who had designed it.
A new report, published by the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal explores “the hate behind the immigration crackdown,” as author Aaron Sankin put it.
The hate behind the crackdown has its roots in its architect, Stephen Miller’s, college days. According to Reveal, Miller, who grew up in Santa Monica, California was introduced to white nationalist ideas as an undergraduate at Duke University.
Miller, the report notes, was a member of the Duke Conservative Union, and close friends with Richard Spencer, a man currently considered to be the face of the white nationalist movement in the United States. In college, Spencer and Miller organized a debate featuring Peter Brimelow, a prominent white nationalist. The two, according to a professor who debated Brimelow at the event, worked together closely to organize the event.
But, according to Reveal, that is not where Miller’s flirtation with white nationalism ends. That was where it began, considering Miller wrote a series of articles for the college newspaper in which he attacked multiculturalism in the United States, blaming it for the alleged degradation of American patriotism.
“Inside our borders, the nation of e pluribus unum (out of many, one) threatens to be fractured across ethnic lines by racial animus and divisive multiculturalism. We suffer from sagging patriotism, growing malaise and a loss of faith in the noble history and principles that have made us great,” one of Miller’s columns reads.
As Reveal pointed out, members of Miller’s family – which had escaped the violence of the anti-Jewish pogroms in Belarus, receiving asylum in the United States, in 1903 – have expressed disgust and disdain for Stephen’s role in Trump administration’s immigration policy.
“My nephew and I must both reflect long and hard on one awful truth. If in the early 20th century the USA had built a wall against poor desperate ignorant immigrants of a different religion, like the Glossers, all of us would have gone up the crematoria chimneys with the other six million kinsmen whom we can never know,” Miller’s uncle David Glosser wrote in a Facebook post, according to Reveal.
While it is known that Donald Trump has, over the course of the past few decades, flip-flopped on a number of issues, making the task of pigeonholing his politics almost impossible, some of his White House staff has been – consistently and throughout the years – accused of racism, if not outright white nationalism.
According to The Guardian, from former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and from former deputy assistant to the President, Sebastian Gorka, to White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the Trump administration has embraced quite a few of those who had, themselves, embraced white nationalism.