Editor's note: As of June 23, the number of children who have been separated from their parents has been reported to be more than 2,000.
Stephen Miller, Trinity '07 and President Donald Trump's senior policy advisor, was "instrumental" in the decision to enforce a policy that separates immigrant children from their parents, according to the New York Times.
The "zero tolerance" policy, which is responsible for hundreds of children being held in detention centers, is an attempt to prevent illegal immigration. Although various people in the Trump administration, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have voiced dissent about the policy, Miller had "no misgivings" about their decision to enforce the policy, the Times article stated.
“It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period," Miller is quoted as saying in the article. "The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law.”
Miller's comments stray from Trump's claims that Democrats were responsible for the new policy, distancing himself from it as the administration faces criticism from both sides of the aisle.
The separations come as a byproduct of unlawful immigrants being taken into federal criminal custody—as opposed to administrative custody or released with the expectation of appearing at an ordered court date—at which point the children are considered unaccompanied alien minors and they are taken away.
At Duke, Miller—who gained notoriety for his outspoken support of the lacrosse players in the Duke lacrosse scandal—was also known to write highly-controversial columns for The Chronicle. In one such column, he wrote about illegal immigration and the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"We criticize our concerned officials for fear-mongering. We oppose common-sense security measures. We give driver's licenses to illegal aliens," he wrote. "Meanwhile our enemy yearns to attack with all the force of Sept. 11 multiplied a hundred times. What will it take for us to understand?"
A staunch conservative, Miller was also previously involved in implementing an executive order that halted immigration from seven predominantly-Muslim countries and indefinitely banned Syrian refugees.
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Class of 2019
Local and national news department head 2016-17
Born in Hyderabad, India, Likhitha Butchireddygari moved to Baltimore at a young age. She is pursuing a Program II major entitled "Digital Democracy and Data" about the future of the American democracy.