Donald Trump’s defenders have insisted all along that when evaluating his immigration policy, we should ignore his veiled and even textbook racist appeals, and instead view it as a straightforward application of law enforcement. “Would-be lawbreakers know that we are restoring the rule of law and enforcing our immigration laws again,” boasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “At stake in this debate is not how to enforce immigration laws but whether we should do so at all,” argued conservative columnist Jonathan Tobin. It’s not about keeping America white, they say, it’s about following the rules and making people get in line.
That defense was strained to the breaking point by Trump’s child-separation policy, which frequently targeted families attempting to seek asylum through legal channels. And now the bare pretense is about to be snapped altogether.
NBC’s Julia Ainsley has obtained an internal Trump administration document laying out a plan to deny citizenship to legal immigrants. The mastermind of the new policy is Stephen Miller, a radical who has gained almost total control of the administration’s immigration agenda. Under the forthcoming plan, any legal immigrants who have ever used (or whose household contains people who have ever used) children’s health insurance (CHIP), Obamacare, supplemental nutrition assistance, or other social benefits could be denied legal status.