Trump’s immigration hardliner could clash with Kushner
President Donald Trump’s choice of Stephen Miller to lead on immigration sets up a potential policy clash with one of the most influential people in the White House, the president’s son-in-law.
The move comes as Trump, focused on challenges in securing the border, sent Jared Kushner back to the drawing board to develop new ideas on immigration reform after being unsatisfied with the results of an initial proposal for a legal immigration framework, according to two sources familiar with the talks.
It’s the latest power shift in just a few months after Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, had emerged as the new figurehead trying to come up with a plan to fix the legal immigration system following his success on criminal justice legislation.
“The clock is ticking on all this stuff,” said a former Trump official who remains in contact with people inside the White House. “There is no way that Stephen can continue to push a very hard right restrictionist policy and for Jared to be pushing a middle-of-the-road, slightly left of center policy, and something doesn’t come in conflict.”
The tension comes as the president purges his top homeland security officials and promises to take a tougher approach on the border with Mexico in the build up to the 2020 campaign season.
“We have the worst laws of any country anywhere in the world, whether it’s catch and release or any one of them,” Trump said Tuesday. “I mean, I could name — I could sit here and name them, but if you got rid of catch and release, chain migration, visa lottery — you have to fix the asylum situation; it’s ridiculous. You have people coming in, claiming asylum.”
The Kushner team is expected to try and develop a new proposal on legal immigration reform, but Trump was clearly frustrated with the original legal immigration proposal and felt strongly that the administration’s focus needed to be on border security, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.
“They had the meeting. The presentation was made,” said a source familiar with the discussion. “He (Trump) became frustrated. He’s very frustrated over the border crisis also. And he felt that what made it to his desk was just not good enough and not what he wanted to do. He’s very vexed by this border crisis and saw that he needed to give clearer direction. The idea is they’re going to put together something that can become a theme for the administration going forward to reelection.”
Another source familiar with the meeting said the new plan is more in line with “Trump’s pro-worker agenda.”
“After meeting last week things are moving in the opposite direction of immigration increases, betrayal of campaign promises,” said the person familiar with the discussion.