According to a report in Politico, Stephen Miller, who advises President Trump on immigration policy, has become more active in attempting to implement more hard-line positions and officials who will execute those policies vis-à-vis the problems at the Southern border.
Politico wrote on Sunday that Miller has called various “mid-level officials at several federal departments and agencies” urging them to adopt more stringent policies. The recipients of those calls allegedly included Craig Symons, chief counsel at USCIS; Carl Risch, the assistant secretary of State for Consular Affairs; ICE deputy director Matthew Albence; and Kathy Nuebel, policy and strategy chief at USCIS.
One source connected to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who resigned on Sunday, told Politico, “There’s definitely a larger shakeup abreast being led by Stephen Miller and the staunch right wing within the administration. They failed with the courts and with Congress and now they’re eating their own.”
Politico added that Miller wants Trump to fire Lee Francis Cissna, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and reportedly influenced Trump’s withdrawal of the nomination of Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello as the permanent director. That withdrawal allegedly prompted Nielsen to protest.
As far as Cissna, RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Politico, “If there’s anyone worthy of the White House’s ire on the immigration issue, it certainly isn’t Francis Cissna. A change at the top of USCIS would be a colossal mistake.”
Nielsen tweeted her resignation on Sunday, writing, “Its been an honor of a lifetime to serve with the brave men and women of @DHSgov. I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards.”
Nielsen added, “To the brave and dedicated men and women of @DHSgov, I submitted my resignation to the President this evening. I am eternally grateful and proud of what you do each and everyday to protect our homeland- each of you are why I came back to serve my country.”
Fox News reported on Sunday, “Nielsen was viewed as resistant to some of the harshest immigration measures supported by the president and his aides, particularly senior adviser Stephen Miller, both around the border and on other matters like protected status for some refugees. A senior administration official told Fox News Sunday that National Security Adviser John Bolton long felt that Nielsen was not the right person for the job and opposed her policy of using United Nations organizations to try to stem the flow of illegal migrants.”
In her resignation letter, Nielsen wrote:
We have responded decisively to record-breaking natural disasters and helped Americans rebuild. We have prevented the disruption of U.S. elections and guarded against foreign interference in our democracy. We have replaced complacency with consequences in cyberspace, we are holding digital intruders accountable, and we are stepping up our protection of American networks. We have thwarted terrorist plotting against our homeland and launched new efforts to block terrorists and criminals from reaching our shores. And we have ramped up security measures to make it harder for our enemies and adversaries to attack us, whether it is with drones, chemical and biological weapons, or through other means.