Steve Miller: Democrats’ Open Borders Policy Aids Cartels’ Smuggling

Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Stephen Miller talks to reporters about President Donald Trump's support for creating a 'merit-based immigration system' in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House August 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Democrats’ open-border policy is helping the Mexican cartels’ labor-smuggling operations, destabilizing Central American countries, and hurting legitimate asylum-seekers, top White House advisor Steven Miller told reporters today.

“The humane and compassionate thing to do to help legitimate asylum seekers would be to drain the fraud and corruption and abuse from the system,” Miller told reporters during a May 29 phone call. He added: 

Democrats oppose doing that. Their policy solution is simply to continue automatically releasing [Central American] family units and minors who show up at the border — never to be heard of or seen again, in many cases —  which is truly open borders.

In order to effectuate their open borders agenda, they are perpetuating a system which brings immense profit to some of the most vicious and horrible criminal organizations in the world, and [which] are responsible for the child smuggling.

So when you want to talk about what is cruel and what is inhumane, we should talk about the consequence of loopholes which make it almost impossible to remove [migrant] individuals showing up at our country illegally, therefore driving massive numbers to take the dangerous trek, leading to more instability in sending countries, leading to more instability in receiving [American] communities and the continued rise of very dangerous transnational smuggling organizations.

Miller’s hard-nosed response comes after Democrats and progressive advocates rallied last week to oppose the administration’s policy of prosecuting all migrants who cross the border illegally.

The new policy requires officials to house minor children in separate facilities from detained adults until the adults are processed by border judges. The children are then reunited with the parents in their home countries.

The housing-and-detention policy is needed, said Miller, because a 1997 legal settlement, dubbed Flores, forces officials to release families with children after just 20 days detention. That deadline does not allow officials enough time to prosecute migrants for entering the countries illegally or even to hear their claims for asylum.

This Flores “catch and release” loophole is recognized by the cartels, who have used it to move hundreds of thousands of people into the United States. In many cases, the cartels earn their money by forcing the poor migrants to pay them a percentage of the wages they earn in the United States. The Democrats’ open-border policy creates “horrendous hemispheric consequences,” Miller said. 

Also, border officials have only detention space for 3,000 people in families, he said. Overall detention space is also limited, ensuring many single adults have been released before their court cases can be completed.

“The current immigration and border crisis and all of the attendant concerns it raises are the exclusive product of loopholes in federal immigration law that the Democrats refuse to close,” Miller said. The existing loopholes are “driving the entire child-smuggling trade,” he said. 

Cartels earn roughly $500 million a year from labor-trafficking operations, say DHS officials. “Smugglers prioritize profit over people. And when aliens pay them to get here, they are contributing $500 million a year — or more — to groups that are fueling greater violence and instability in America and the region,” said Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, May 15, 2018.

“The Senate Democrats have been fighting tooth-and-nail against every single solitary effort to close these loopholes … if people care about child smuggling they’ll close the loopholes,” Miller said. 

Miller’s tough language also reflects the administration’s decision to spotlight the immigration issue in the 2018 elections — and to turn the Democrats’ new focus on migrant children against the Democratic candidates during the 2018 election.

Since Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats and Republican leaders in Washington have refused to accept proposed fixes to the border issue that were demanded by 2016 voters.

For example, the 2018 omnibus provided little money for Trump’s border wall or for additional migrant-detention spaces. The Senate also blocked Trump’s immigration-law reforms in February — aided by roughly 15 business-first Republicans Senators — and the House leadership has not pushed for passage of the compromise immigration bill developed by the chairman of the Hosue judiciary and homeland defense committees.

Instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan, backed up by GOP donors, is helping a group of Republican House members exploit the discharge-petition process to push for a no-reform amnesty.

Without reforms, cheap-labor migrants continue to flow into Democratic cities and GOP rural area, driving down wages and sidelining Americans. For example, the restaurant industry relies heavily on illegal-immigrant labor instead of hiring Americans at middle-class wages.


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