In 2018, Stephen Miller, the white supremacist Trump administration official in charge of anti-immigrant policy, was busy trying to come up with an even harsher method of separating migrant children from their parents.
In a 2018 White House meeting, he presented a plan to expand the “zero-tolerance policy”, which said that every immigrant who crossed the U.S. border illegally would be prosecuted, including parents with small children. Miller wanted more children from their families, even if they were going through civil court proceedings. Eleven of Trump’s most senior advisers were in this meeting and were asked, by a show-of -hands-vote, whether they support this cruel policy of family separation.
At the meeting, Miller said, “If we don’t enforce this, it is the end of our country as we know it.”
I share that story to put into perspective Miller’s cruel worldview. He is a racist extremist whose mission is to ensure that the United States remains a majority white country.
At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller sprung into action and helped implement a directive called Title 42. It effectively eliminated access to legal asylum in the United States under the premise of stopping migrants at the border that might be infected with the virus. The directive was never justified by science and public health officials were uniform in their criticism of it.
Dr. Anthony Fauci debunked the racially motivated lie spread by Republicans that immigrants are to blame for the spread of COVID-19. When he was asked during a CNN interview if there was truth to these claims, Fauci resolutely replied, “no, absolutely not.”
There are millions of travelers that come in and out of the United States through airports and ports that are not screened with the same level of intensity. We have the methods to do health screenings of immigrants and provide them with masks, tests, and vaccination as they seek refuge in our country. Title 42’s purpose is not about upholding public health, its goal is to keep out as many migrants as possible while propagating wrong and hateful rhetoric suggesting that immigrants bring diseases into this country.
The Biden administration is allegedly planning to end Title 42 restrictions on the US-Mexico border by May 23. This is great news that has widespread support among Democrats, civil rights organizations, and public health experts familiar with the issue and the harmful effects of this policy.
News: The Biden administration is planning to end Trump-era pandemic restrictions on the US-Mexico border that have largely blocked migrants from entering the US by May 23. Confirming @AP. Story w/ @kaitlancollins @Kevinliptakcnn: https://t.co/JrY9VnXOqN
— Priscilla Alvarez (@priscialva) March 30, 2022
After the atrocities of World War II, the right to seek asylum was incorporated into international law. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Congress adopted key provisions of the Geneva Refugee Convention into U.S. immigration law when it passed the Refugee Act of 1980.
Ending Title 42 and respecting the national and international rights of asylum seekers and refugees is the right decision and the sooner we do so, the better. Voters did not vote to make Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States to continue Trump-era policies at the border, particularly those devised by reprehensible individuals like Stephen Miller.
Thomas Kennedy is an elected Democratic National Committee member representing Florida. He tweets from @tomaskenn.
is a reported opinion columnist and roving correspondent. He's an elected member of the Democratic National Committee from Florida and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.