Miller: ‘Greatly Expanded and More Vigorous Immigration Enforcement’ Now Taking Place

By Susan Jones | February 13, 2017 | 6:11am EST
In this Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, photo released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, foreign nationals are arrested during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles. Advocacy groups said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are rounding up people in large numbers around the country as part of stepped-up enforcement under President Donald Trump. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

( - "The crackdown on illegal immigrants is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers, and others are being removed," President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday.

Yes, they are being removed, Trump’s Senior Adviser Stephen Miller told “Fox News Sunday” and other newsmaker shows:

Right now, as a result of the president's order, greatly expanded and more vigorous immigration enforcement activities are taking place. It is true that operation cross-check is something that happens every year. But this year, we've taken new and greater steps to remove criminal aliens from our communities.

I had a phone call yesterday with someone who from DHS who talked about an immigration enforcement activity at 4:00 in the morning where a gang member was removed, a wife beater, somebody who was a threat to public safety, with a long arrest record. But because they didn't have the right kinds of convictions, they weren't considered a priority by the previous administration.

Because of President Trump's actions, innocent people are now being kept out of harm's way. And we as a country spend too little time thinking about the effects of open borders on vulnerable communities, including our migrant communities, lawful migrants trying to get their start in this country who have to deal with the scourge of cartel violence, the scourge of gangs, the scourge of violent criminals, that we're now removing from this country.

Miller told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the focus is on removing “criminal aliens, individuals who have criminal charges or convictions against them, and that's what's been taking place all across the country.”

He said the removals will save lives.

“And the bottom line is this: In the calculation between a -- between open borders and saving American lives, it is the easiest choice we will ever have to make.”

Miller told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the executive order describes a criminal offense as “anything from a misdemeanor to a felony; in particular, the emphasis is on crimes that threaten or endanger public safety.”

He also said the White House will not instruct federal law enforcement officers or immigration agents “to ignore the laws of the United States.”

“It would be highly unethical for me and the White House or anybody else to pick up the phone and call an ICE officer and say, well, when you encounter this particular felon, we'd like you to pretend the law doesn't exist.

"But I can tell you right now, there are enforcement actions happening all over this country, in which gang members, drug dealers -- sex offenders --  are being swept up."

Host Chuck Todd asked Miller, “What about if the only crime they committed was being here illegally? Is that enough to be deported?”

Miller said an immigration judge or an ICE officer makes those decisions. “I and the White House don't make those decisions.”

And if people don’t like U.S. immigration laws, “they can reform them,” he added. “Our emphasis is on deporting and removing criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety.

"And I just want to say this. There's been a lot of coverage in the news about the effects of these enforcement actions on people who are here illegally. And that's an issue people are free to discuss.

"But what's more important and what should be discussed more is the lives that are being saved, Chuck, the American lives that are being saved because we're taking enforcement action.

"And when we didn't take those actions in the past, you have families like the Wilkerson family and the Root family and the Mendoza family, who lost people they loved because we were more concerned -- we were more concerned about the effects of enforcement on people here illegally than the well-being of lawful immigrants and U.S. citizens."

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