Trump's immigration czar says administration will expand its travel ban if re-elected

Rozina Sabur
·2 min read
Stephen Miller has been behind the administration's aggressive curb on immigration  - Carlos Barria /Reuters
Stephen Miller has been behind the administration's aggressive curb on immigration - Carlos Barria /Reuters

Donald Trump's chief immigration adviser said his administration will expand its travel ban to raise the "standard" for entry if the US president is re-elected.

Stephen Miller, known as the driving force between the administration's most hardline immigration policies, said the Trump administration would continue to pursue an "aggressive" crackdown on illegal immigration as well as increasing vetting on those seeking work in the US.

In a rare interview, Mr Miller told NBC News the administration would not commit to lifting the current freeze on renewing visas that are set to expire at the end of the year, or to issuing new green cards, which grant permanent residency.

Mr Miller said that a "major priority" would be "building on and expanding the framework that we've created with the travel ban, in terms of raising the standard for screening and vetting for admission to the United States."

This would include more rigorous vetting of applicants, such as appraising visa applicants' "ideological sympathies or leanings" to determine whether they were vulnerable to being recruited by radicals.

Work visas offered to foreigners would also be reduced, with priority given to high wage earners, allowing only those who "can contribute the most to job creation and economic opportunity".

However, Mr Miller said the Trump administration would not reinstate its controversial "zero tolerance" policy that led to hundreds of children being separated from their families on the US-Mexico border while their cases were processed.

Instead, Mr Miller outlined a policy that would keep families together in detention centres. 

Mr Miller said he would achieve this by amending the Flores agreement, which prohibits children being held more than 20 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention and led to family separations. 

However, an amendment to the agreement leaves open the possibility that whole families could be detained indefinitely as they await their day in immigration court.

Mr Miller has also highlighted reducing asylum grants as a priority for a second term in office. The immigration adviser said this would be achieved by expanding "burden-sharing" deals with Central American countries that block asylum-seekers' routes to the US.

"The president would like to expand that to include the rest of the world," Mr Miller told NBC News, adding this would enable them to "share the burden of asylum-seekers on a global basis."

Mr Miller said the president would push to "outlaw the practice" of so-called "sanctuary cities" which refuse to hand over arrested illegal immigrants to federal agents for deportation.