Happily the government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction . . . requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
George Washington, Letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, 1790
It’s just a different venue. And it is nothing more than a coincidence that he reappeared on the front page of the New York Times on the same day that the trump made his first 2022 campaign appearance. That trump appearance was, unsurprisingly, in support of Max Miller who, like trump lives in the fantasy world in which the trump won the election. Max is hoping to unseat Anthony Gonzales. Representative Gonzales is the current member of Congress from Ohio’s Sixteenth District, and a member of the actual world whose inhabitants are able to separate fact from fiction, a skill unknown to trump and his supporters. He was one of ten Republican House members who joined the Democrats in voting to impeach the trump because of the trump role in the January 6 riots. The goblin who has reappeared on the national scene is none other than Stephen Miller.
When he had barely attained age 30, Stephen was serving as the communications director for Jeff Sessions, then the junior senator from Alabama. In 2016 he left Sessions’ office to join the trump presidential campaign as its communications director. That became the jumping off point for a successful career as a right-wing nut job. Following the election of the trump he became the senior advisor to the trump and in that capacity was able to promote some of his own, and the trump’s, favorite policies.
Stephen supported the travel ban for Muslims, helped design the policies that reduced the number of refugees admitted to this country, and made it more difficult for those already here to obtain green cards. He was an enthusiastic supporter of construction of the border wall and supported the policy that resulted in the children of illegal immigrants being separated from their parents.
When Stephen’s enabler moved to Mar a Lago, Stephen, ever creative, found a new way in which to give voice to his bigotry. He created America First Legal (AFL.) Lacking legal training, Stephen created the firm with the help of lawyers now working for the firm. AFL gives Stephen a platform that promises to be just as effective in promoting his racist views as the platform he enjoyed when working for the trump. In the brief time since it was formed in late March 2021, its goals have become clear.
AFL has joined a lawsuit attacking the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require private insurers to cover “preventive care” without any cost sharing arrangements. It has submitted a Freedom of Information Act to obtain all documents, communications and records relating to the vetting and appointment of Biden’s judicial nominees, appointments that have been rapidly confirmed during the early days of the Biden administration.
AFL has made Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to the ouster of Rodney Scott, the former Border Patrol Chief and his deputy, Bob Perez. As AFL Vice-President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton explained, “ Removing them from their posts only highlights the extent to which this Administration is engaged in a scorched-Earth campaign to advance an open borders agenda.” Filing the FOIA could similarly be said to highlight Stephen’s anti-immigrant stance.
On June 23, 2021, AFL joined the state of Texas in asking a Federal Judge to immediately halt the Biden administration’s “Catch and Release” policies at the border. As Stephen explained: “The Biden Administration has laid siege to America’s sovereignty and waged merciless assault against our borders. We are fighting back alongside the State of Texas in federal court to save our country from destruction. . . .In this existential legal battle, we are immensely honored to partner with the truly courageous Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas. Together, AFL and the State of Texas are suing the Administration to stop its deadly erasure of our borders and immigration laws, At the heart of this case is the Administration’s illegal policy of Catch-and-Release on our Southern Border—constantly freeing countless illegal aliens into the United States after they are apprehended by Border Patrol. . . .”
At the end of April AFL began a suit against the Agriculture Department over a $4 billion debt relief plan that was designed to assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The program did not include debt relief for white farmers and that was the essence of the AFL suit. Two federal courts have ordered the Agriculture Department to end the program that forgave the debts of Black and other minority farmers to make up for years of discrimination. The struggle to correct these wrongs continues. Stephen has vowed to continue AFL’s opposition to them.
Commenting on his nephew’s immigration policies as a trump advisor, Stephen’s uncle, David Glosser, said of Stephen’s work: “I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as [Stephen] . . . has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country.” He could have been speaking for all of us. Stephen is back. We are all the worse for his return.