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Stephen Miller's New Sinister Immigration Proposal

Stephen Miller. (YouTube screen grab)

Donald Trump has been open about his hatred of immigrants. He began his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and saying that America needs to build a wall to keep them out. Previously, he and his supporters defended these policies by claiming that they were focusing on undocumented immigrants, and not legal immigrants, who they claim “came the right way.”

But the Trump administration has shattered this pretense by setting up a denaturalization task force, designed to strip citizenship from naturalized citizens convicted of even the most minor crimes. That hasn’t been enough, however, for vehemently anti-immigrant Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

NBC News reports that the administration is now planning a proposal “that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare.”

The move does not require congressional approval. Sources familiar with the situation told NBC that it is part of Miller’s grand plan. NBC points out that “Miller, along with several of his former congressional colleagues who now hold prominent positions in the Trump administration, have long sought to decrease the number of immigrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.”

The news organization notes that the move “would fall particularly hard on immigrants working jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families,” since the plan in its current draft would apply to those who have benefited from such programs as the Affordable Care Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and SNAP (food stamps).

Louis Charles, a Haitian green card holder working toward citizenship, is an example. As NBC reports, “Despite working up to 80 hours a week as a nursing assistant, [Charles] has had to use public programs to support his disabled adult daughter.” Previously, this necessity would not have affected his citizenship application; under Miller’s plan, it would prevent him from attaining naturalization.

Immigration lawyers and advocates call the plan “the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected.”

NBC says that Trump administration policies are already having an effect:

Data from the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 indicates that the administration is on track for a decline in immigrants granted green cards by 20 percent. Data for the first two quarters of fiscal year 2018 for immigrants obtaining naturalized citizenship shows little change compared to the same period of 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says they expect naturalization numbers to rise in the latter half of the year based on previous trends.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials are rejecting accusations of discrimination. Spokesman Michael Bars told NBC that “USCIS has not changed the manner in which applications for naturalization have been adjudicated.”

Immigration advocates are preparing for a fight.

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