Up to now, the media have publicized every single word that Donald Trump says on immigration as if every syllable that he utters on immigration has earth-shaking consequences (and, to be sure, some of them arguably do), But there has been far less media attention to the statements of Trump's chief immigration adviser, Stephen Miller, a hard line anti-immigrant true believer who, behind the scenes and avoiding publicity, has had enormous influence over the details of administration policy in almost every aspect of both legal and illegal immigration.

To give just one of many examples, Miller has been reported as being the driving force behind the push to change the "Public Charge" inadmissibility rules to make them so harsh and punitive that, according to some estimates, tens of millions of highly qualified (and mainly nonwhite) applicants for legal visas and green cards would be barred from coming to or living permanently in the United States.

In his ingenuity, grasp of the details of immigration law and policy, and devotion to the goal of drastically reducing America's (nonwhite) immigrant population, Miller, as an ideologue,i.e. white civi might bear comparison to historical figures such as Torquemada or literary ones such as Dostoevsky's grand inquisitor.

Miller, who is also widely presumed (though I don't know if this has been definitely established) to have written Trump's "Blood and Soil" speech in Warsaw, Poland, in which Trump praised the "common ancestry" and allegedly superior civilization of Europeans, who "write symphonies", and stated that the single most important task was to defend the borders of "Western Civilization" (i.e. white civilization.

Miller has also been reported to have a well-documented history of white supremacist statements and connections, as mentioned in the December 18, 2018 ThinkProgess article:

Stephen Miller uses white nationalist dogwhistle to push Trump's border wall

But Miller's apparently enormous influence over the Trump administration's agenda of mass exclusion and expulsion of brown immigrants is not limited to policy initiatives, He has also had considerable influence on the terminology of the immigration debate, showing great skill in turning traditional neutral or even positive expressions into white nationalist dog whistles.

Take, for example, the phrase "National Sovereignty". This term has a long and distinguished history and is not in or of itself pejorative or disrespectful of anyone, as can easily be seen, by consulting the definition of "Sovereignty" in Black's Law Dictionary. The same term also has a distinguished role in American history, as being associated with America's independence, democracy and freedom. There is nothing inherently negative about the term "National Sovereignty" and it is still used in this neutral, non-derogatory sense by respected and reputable commentators in discussing immigration and other issues today.

But, as described in detail in the law review article cited below, the concepts of sovereignty and national borders also have a long history of being used by nativist groups in America, going back to the time of the anti-Irish immigrant Know Nothings in the mid-19th century. See, Robert S. Chang and Keith Aoki,

Centering the Immigrant in the Inter/Nstional Imagination

85 Calif. Law Rev. 1395 (1997)

Stephen Miller and Donald Trump have reached back into this long American history of bigotry against minority immigrants in order to hijack the ostensibly neutral legal term "Sovereignty", or "National Sovereignty" to use it in with an entirely different meaning, namely that America's very existence as a nation is being threatened by non-white immigrants coming to the United States, legally or otherwise.

For more details, see the ThinkProgress article mentioned above.

See also, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, (February 21):

Trump, Stephen Miller and the 'national sovereignty lie'


Sovereignty" is a long standing-respected legal concept which has long been associated, not only with America's freedom and independence, but with the ability of democratic governments to protect the human rights of their populations around the world. See:Father Robert Araujo;

Sovereignty, Human Rights and Self-Determination: The Meaning of International Law

24 Fordham Law Journal, Issue 5, Article 1 (2000)

Immigration supporters should not be intimidated from advocating for laws and policies that will promote the interests and human rights of all immigrants, including those from countries which Trumps has labeled as "shithole" ones, or immigrants belonging to a religion that Trump is trying to ban, merely because Trump and Miller are trying to turn the longstanding concept of National Sovereignty into a dogwhistle for stopping immigrants who are not from "Countries like Norway" from coming to or residing in the United States.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law