The senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller promoted racist fears of demographic replacement of white people by non-whites, disseminated conspiracy theories positing a United Nations-inspired plan to colonize America, and implied a Mark Zuckerberg-sponsored bipartisan organization was promoting illegal voting, according to emails provided exclusively to the Guardian.
Like other emails revealed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) this week, the messages were sent in an effort to shape Breitbart News coverage with conspiratorial, white nationalist-influenced ideas during the Trump campaign.
The emails were part of a correspondence with Katie McHugh, then a writer for the far-right website Breitbart. According to the SPLC, 80% of the emails in their 900-email correspondence were tightly focused on issues of race and immigration.
In one email, sent on 24 July 2015, Miller forwarded McHugh an Amazon link to a book written by James Simpson: The Red-Green Axis: Refugees, Immigration and the Agenda to Erase America. The book posits that refugee resettlement is part of a plan to erase American sovereignty and culture.
Simpson is a prolific conspiracy-minded author and anti-immigration activist The Red-Green Axis is one in a series of Simpson screeds that propose conspiracy theories about immigration, Islam and liberals. It argues that refugee resettlement should be understood as a part of a broad agenda of demographic replacement.
“The entire refugee/asylee agenda,” Simpson writes, “must be viewed as a UN-inspired plan aimed at the West, especially America, to erase borders and dilute Western culture through mass immigration from the world’s failed nations.”
Simpson claimed that then president Barack Obama was party to the conspiracy: “Its goal is to seed America and other Western countries with virulent Muslim groups who will not assimilate but instead attempt to dominate. With President Obama at the helm, that plan now has its greatest advocate.”
The racist idea of demographic replacement – whereby white Americans are steadily replaced by non-whites to the detriment of the US – is present in an email sent by Miller to McHugh on 1 July 2015, with the subject heading “some articles you may find useful”.
The email features several links with short comments on immigrants by Miller, who highlights aspects of the linked material that resonate with his agenda. For example, Miller links to a CityLab article about the challenges facing schools teaching English to immigrant children with the comment: “Major metro areas get most population growth from immigrants.”
Miller then links to a Brookings Institution report on America’s increasing diversity with the comment: “White youth population disappearing.”
According to McHugh, who was fired by Breitbart over anti-Muslim tweets and has now renounced the far right, the emails typified Miller’s attitudes and those of many in the far-right milieu he inhabited.
“They viewed immigration as a plot to undermine American sovereignty,” McHugh told the Guardian. “He wanted refugee resettlement cut to zero and an end to legal immigration.
“Much of the far right thinks this way.”
In other emails, Miller expresses antipathy for specific non-white immigrant communities.
On 8 July 2015, Miller sent McHugh a local news video alleging the involvement of Somali refugees in an underage prostitution ring, remarking: “Looks like this is from a couple years ago, but good to have on hand.”
McHugh responded: “At some point it would be great to write a big round up of Somali crimes – after asking local officials the specific benefits their diversity provides us with?”
He then linked to a piece from Real Clear Politics arguing that stalled social mobility is related to “importing millions of low skill immigrants” from Latin America.
Later the same day, Miller sent McHugh a report by the American Immigration Council, which showed that immigrants commit fewer serious crimes than native-born citizens. McHugh responded: “I’m guessing they lump El Salvador MS-13 gang members with Canadian neurosurgeons.”
Miller replied: “Of course.”
Miller also revealed a hostility towards Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s efforts to promote immigration reform, via the lobbying group FWD.US.
McHugh told the Guardian that Facebook and other tech companies were the subject of special ire from Miller due to perceived “anti-conservative bias” and support for policies like the H-1B visa program, which allows US companies to hire foreign nationals in specialized occupations.
On 2 June 2015, from a government email address identifying him as a staffer for then senator Jeff Sessions, Miller sent a long brief, pushing back on a speech by the FWD.US president, Todd Schulte.
Miller sent excerpts from the speech, with key phrases bolded, highlighting Schulte’s desire for “citizenship for the undocumented” and his advocacy for “people who are unskilled to come here” along with skilled migrants.
Arguing that “immigrants, as a share of national population, are set to eclipse every prior watermark in 7 years”, Miller cited research from the Harvard economist George Borjas, who has also appeared at events organized by the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant thinktank.
“Providing citizenship to illegal immigrants,” he concluded, “further increases low-wage labor flows as illegal immigrants granted green cards and citizenship can petition for their relatives to join them.”
He also emailed McHugh – while a White House aide – with unfounded claims that FWD.US supported undocumented immigrants voting.
The White House did not immediately respond to the Guardian’s request for comment.
In response to an earlier story about Miller’s emails to McHugh, which also contained themes of white nationalism and anti-immigration fears, the White House said the SPLC was a “far-left smear organization”, adding that “they libel, slander, and defame conservatives for a living”.