The Slatest

Stephen Miller: Stopping Asylum-Seekers Is “All I Care About”

Stephen Miller, seen against a white wall and in a suit.
Stephen Miller seen at the White House on Jan. 14. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

In a profile published Friday, the New Yorker recounted a November meeting between Trump adviser Stephen Miller and administration officials on the topic of Central American asylum-seekers.

According to the New Yorker:

One participant in the November meeting pointed out that El Salvador didn’t have a functioning asylum system. “They don’t need a system,” Miller interrupted. He began speaking over people, asking questions, then cutting off the answers.

As the meeting ended, Miller held up his hand to make a final comment. “I didn’t mean to come across as harsh,” he said. His voice dropped. “It’s just that this is all I care about. I don’t have a family. I don’t have anything else. This is my life.”

Miller’s sacrifices have, it seems, paid off. Miller, Donald Trump’s longest-serving senior aide, has successfully steered anti-immigrant policies from the White House that have rebuffed asylum-seekers at the Southern border, gutted the refugee programs, and generally made it harder to immigrate to the U.S. He has been credited with engineering the disastrous family separations policy. He argued that immigration amounted to a national crisis in need of a border wall. He tried to add harsh restrictions to green card and citizenship applications. He was seen as a driving force behind the infamous Muslim ban.

As the New Yorker story pointed out, Miller has made it clear that he feels a level of emotion about immigration that few other Trump administration officials can summon. (Miller has a record of promoting white nationalist talking points, pulled from white supremacist websites and people, to support his campaign.) One former New York Times reporter had seen that firsthand. The reporter, Julia Preston, told the New Yorker that in a conversation about H-1B visas “he was talking so passionately that he actually wept.”

One thing has changed for Miller: On Sunday, he married Katie Waldman, press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence. The two met when they were introduced by friends in 2018 and got engaged in November, the same month as the meeting where he made his comments.