White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller said that the Trump administration “will not apologize” for focusing on “public safety and saving American lives” in its immigration policies during an interview Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Miller spoke on the heels of a week filled with an “enforcement surge” carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in at least six states. In the Los Angeles area alone, ICE officials ultimately arrested 160 illegal immigrants — 151 of whom would be classified as criminal aliens with misdemeanors and “felony criminal histories ranging from child sex crimes to weapons charges to assaults,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News. But as news broke of the raids and the arrests of some illegal aliens without these criminal pasts, mainstream media outlets and liberal activists cried foul.
“We’re going to focus on public safety and saving American lives. And we will not apologize for that.”
“But I can tell you right now there are enforcement actions happening all over this country in which gang members, drug dealers, sex offenders are being swept up,” Miller told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd. “Our emphasis is on deporting and removing criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety.”
Miller, however, took umbrage with the mainstream media’s portrayal of the enforcement surge, arrests, and deportations — coverage that emphasized the resulting fear wracking illegal immigrant communities.
“And I just want to say this — there has been a lot of coverage in the news about the effects of these enforcement actions on people who are here illegally. And that’s an issue that people are free to discuss,” Miller told Todd. “But what’s more important and what should be discussed more is the lives that are being saved, Chuck — the American lives that are being saved because we’re taking enforcement action.”
“And when we didn’t take those actions in the past, you have families like the Wilkerson family and the Root family and the Mendoza family who lost people they loved because we were more concerned … about the effects of enforcement on people here illegally than the well-being of lawful immigrants and U.S. citizens,” Miller said.
When Todd pressed Miller about the otherwise non-criminal aliens arrested and deported last week, the policy adviser pointed to President Donald Trump’s executive order cracking down on illegal immigration.
“The president has been … unequivocal and explicit in saying that we are going to focus on removing individuals who pose a threat to pubic safety,” Miller said, adding that the White House cannot tell ICE officials not to comply with enforcing federal immigration laws.
"It would be highly unethical for me and the White House or anybody else to pick up the phone and call an ICE officer and say, 'Well, when you encounter this particular felon, pretend that the law doesn't exist,'" Miller said, before reinforcing the Trump administration's commitment to targeting criminal aliens first and foremost.
"What would you say, Chuck, what would you say to a family member who lost someone they loved because an illegal immigrant who had been deported two times and had a misdemeanor conviction was allowed to come back into the country a third time because that wasn't deemed a priority and they lost someone they loved?" Miller asked. "Would you say, 'Well, I'm sorry. They didn't meet our priority scale.' We're going to focus on public safety and saving American lives. And we will not apologize for that."
Just before Miller's Sunday interview, the president himself addressed the media's beef with the arrests and deportations and rebuked them for largely ignoring his administration's commitment to protecting American citizens.
Of the illegal aliens arrested in the Los Angeles area last week, one was an MS-13 gang member from El Salvador who had been arrested previously in his native country for aggravated extortion, one was a Brazilian wanted for cocaine trafficking, and another was an Australian who had been convicted for carrying out "lewd and lascivious" acts with a child. And yet the media seemed to be far more interested in covering the illegal immigrants' fears and concerns over living in Trump's America.
"The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!" Trump tweeted.
Last Modified: February 12, 2017, 1:43 pm