When Charlie Rose asked President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Stephen Miller, Trinity ’07, about the “chaos and turmoil” that followed Trump’s executive order halting immigration, Miller responded with a line that was representative of his entire political career.“If nobody’s disagreeing with what you’re doing, then you’re probably not doing anything that really matters in the scheme of things,” Miller told Rose, Trinity ’64 and Law ’68. Miller—an outspoken conservative activist since high school—has faced intense scrutiny for his role in drafting and implementing an executive order that includes a halt on immigration from seven predominantly-Muslim countries and indefinitely bans Syrian refugees.The scale and severity of the ban took many by surprise and triggered protests at airports nationwide. But Miller has vigorously defended the order, which he likely co-authored with Trump's chief strategies Steve Bannon, according to several media reports. An immigration policy long in the makingMiller’s path from Duke to Capitol Hill to the White House foreshadowed his actions in the Trump administration.On CBS’s “This Morning,” Miller framed the executive order as a way of stopping threats to the United States from those who did not “truly love and support the United States of America.” Miller also claimed Sunday during an interview on Fox News that the American people agreed with the goal of stopping people with harmful views—particularly radical Islamists—from entering the country. “They are interested in what we are interested in, which is preventing terrorism from spreading its roots inside the United States of America,” he said. “If you look at recent terror attacks that have occurred in the United States, there’s almost always an immigration nexus, whether it be in the first generation or in the radicalized children of migrants.”Not everyone agrees with his opinion, however. A 2015 New York Times report cited a study by research center New America, which found that more people were killed in America since 9/11 by non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.But Miller’s focus on the threat posed by immigration and by radical Islamic terrorism is not new—it reaches back to his time as a well-known conservative activist on Duke’s campus more than a decade ago.Miller and white nationalist Richard Spencer, a graduate student in Duke’s history department from 2005-07, collaborated on hosting an immigration policy debate in March 2007, according to two former members of the Duke Conservative Union. Spencer, who founded the National Policy Institute, has delivered a Nazi salute on camera and is credited with coining the term “alt-right." He also made news on Inauguration Day when he was punched in the face during an on-camera interview. The debate between Peter Laufer, a University of Oregon professor and supporter of open borders, and Peter Brimelow, an immigration restrictionist, focused on whether America is in fact a nation of immigrants and the economic consequences of closing or opening the the U.S. border with Mexico. “My impression is that this was height of their collaboration,” said Bill English, Trinity ’03, who helped found DCU as an undergraduate and was in graduate school with Spencer at the time of the debate.English added that he would not characterize Spencer as a mentor to Miller, although he did say that both himself and Spencer “periodically played advisory roles” in the DCU.