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Stephen Miller
  Meet the Press  MSNBC  February 12, 2017 11:06am-11:18am PST

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ban. mr. miller, welcome to "meet the press ". >> let me start with the decision by the ninth circuit and the president himself saying to reporters that a new order may be drafted. is that what you and others are doing right now? drafting a new order since essentially the ninth circuit seemed to give you a road map of how to draw up something slightly more narrow that would accomplish your goal? >> we are considering all of our options right now, chuck. that includes you can continue the appeal on the ninth and seek an emergency stay in the supreme court and you can have a trial hearing on the merits at the district level or a hearing also
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at the ninth circuit and pursue additional executive actions. the bottom line is we are pursuing every single possible action to keep our country safe from terrorism. i want to be clear. we heard talk about how all of the branches of government are equal. that's the point. they are equal. there's no such thing as judicial supremacy. what the judges did is take power away that belongs squarely in the hands of the president of the united states. >> you say that definitively, but they aren't agreed upon. you believe there is a 1952 law that gives the president the power to decide who can come in and out of this country on a temporary basis and why do you think that law supersedes 1965's who says you cannot decide on someone coming in based on origin. >> that's a great question, and i'll answer it in full. we know the 1952 law and you are referring to 8212f because if it didn't have controlling supremacy between those two clauses that would mean, chuck, that during a time of war that the president of the united states couldn't suspend admissions from the very country they were at war with. so obviously, that's the
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controlling clause. secondly, this is not a decision based upon national origins. it's a decision based upon security conditions in the countries. syria is a disaster zone. libya is in ruins. yemen has a massive resurgent terrorism movement. these are decisions based upon the ability of those countries to cooperate with our intelligence services. as you know, chuck, this was a decision made in 2015 and '16 in terms of designating the countries. we simply took that intelligence assessment and we took firm action to restrict entry and the bottom line is the president of the united states, both under his article 2 foreign powers and under the 1952 statute has the power to control who enters our country and you know and i know that no foreign national living in yemen or any other country has a constitutional right to demand entry into our country.
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>> look, i understand that, but i guess i go back to if you do that -- if this was about the security of the country, why wasn't afghanistan, pakistan, saudi arabia, egypt -- i can keep going down the list, where we have had foreign nationals from those countries that i've listed attempt terrorist acts in this country? >> well, that's a great question. first of all, 72 individuals according to the center for immigration studies have been implicated in terroristic activity in the united states who hail from those seven nations, point one. point two, the security determination about those countries is based upon an assessment of the threat they present today and going into the future. the security situation in libya, yemen, syria and other countries designated are squarely different today than they were in 2001 or 2005 and 2010. >> but san bernardino -- mr. miller, the whole point of the president's -- as a candidate, the whole point of this idea at the time of a full muslim ban and that he has since tapered it back was in response to san
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bernardino where the spouse came from saudi arabia, of pakistan origin. >> first of all -- >> you're 100% correct. the san bernardino incident demonstrated the profound degree to which our immigration system is vulnerable to terrorism and the fbi has information right now that would clearly indicate the extent to which massive number of court cases are happening and have happened all over our country related to the infiltration of the immigration system, but if you look at the executive order what it spells out is a 90-day period to put in place extreme vetting across the board. so the first seven countries are based upon our determination about the security conditions in those countries and their ability to cooperate with us, but there say 30-day period where new security measures are promulgated and a 60-day compliance period and, chuck, i'll be glad to come back on your show and walk through how we've kept the country safe across the board from individuals coming into our country who don't share our values and don't love our
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people. >> it's interesting you say about sharing values and the vetting process. i want to ask this, are you going to make public the new vetting procedures? >> i suppose there will be aspects of those that will be public, and i'm sure for reasons of national security there will be aspects of those that won't be. obviously, if you're engaged of a vetting procedure of a foreign national you don't want them to have a road map to get around the procedures. we don't want to forecast that. there will be routine, online forms that everybody can see so it just depends and the important thing is this, 80 million people traveled into the united states last year through the airports, seaports or land ports. we as a sovereign nation have the right to impose basic restrictions on to ensure our
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security, our quality of life, our economic and financial well-being and the bottom line, the bottom line is that a district judge, a district judge in seattle cannot make immigration law for the united states, cannot give foreign nationals and foreign countries rights they do not have and cannot prevent the president of the united states from suspending the admission of refugees from syria. >> let me go to the issue of immigration as a whole. do you believe there is too much immigration in the country? >> we should have a program in which american workers are given jobs first. the president campaigned on this and it's an issue the labor unions agree with us and members of congress agree with us. if you have an open job in this country, a u.s. citizen or existing legal permanent resident ought to have the ability to have the first application for that job. the problem is and the way the media cover this issue, present
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company excluded and they don't talk about the u.s. citizens and legal permanent residents and many of whom are living in poverty and many of whom who haven't had wage growth in 20, 30 years and it's time to talk about them, their families and their concerns and yes, we'll have a lawful immigration system that will enrich and benefit the country and the president agrees that should be a merit-based system where individuals come to the country and bring the benefits economically that will grow our economy and help lift up wages for everybody. >> you didn't answer the question. do you and the president believe there's too much legal immigration? >> i think i look forward to us rolling out immigration reforms and i'll be able to announce very clearly when we do that what those do. i think my views on this issue have been well discussed and well publicized and i would love to have a conversation with you to get into them in great detail. where we are focused right now are two things protecting our country through security enforcement and screening of entrants and ensuring that before a job is given to a foreign national that job is offered first to an american worker, either a legal permanent resident or u.s. citizen.
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>> well, i'm going to ask about what appears to be an immigration enforcement surge that took place last week and it goes to the order that was signed. when -- what is -- how do you define a criminal act by an undocumented immigrant in this country? just being undocumented, here illegally, is that enough of a criminal act to get you deported under this order? >> the order describes a criminal offense which would typically mean anything from a misdemeanor to a felony. in particular, the emphasis is on crimes that threaten or endanger public safety, but as you well know you cannot order a federal law enforcement officer and i.c.e. any more than you can to the fbi and the dea and marshall service to ignore the laws of the united states and it would be highly unethical for me in the white house or anybody else to pick up the phone and call an i.c.e. officer, when you encounter this particular felon we'd like you to pretend the law doesn't exist. there are enforcements happening
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all over this country in which gang members, drug dealer, sex offenders are being swept up. >> i understand felons. what about if the only crime they committed is being here illegally, is that enough to be deported? >> sean -- chuck, an immigration judge makes those decisions. an i.c.e. officer makes those decisions. >> you don't want to prioritize in either direction. >> if people don't like the immigration laws of the united states they can reform them. our emphasis is on deporting and removing criminal aliens that 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 the news, and that's an issue people are free to discuss, but what's more important and what should be discussed more is the lives being saved, chuck, the american lives 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 mendoza family
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who lost people they loved because we are more concerned about the effects of people here legally than the lawful immigrants and u.s. citizens. >> it sounds to me that you did not tell i.c.e. workers who to prioritize. >> that's not correct, i in the white house would be improper for me to tell them from disengage from enforcement action. the president has been clear, unequivocal and explicit in saying that we are going to focus removing individuals who pose a threat to public safety including people who are gang members, who have been charged with criminal offenses, who have been multiple immigration violations and have been deported and re-entered. i have a question, what would you say, chuck, what would you say to a family member who lost someone they loved because an illegal immigrant who was deported two times and had a misdemeanor conviction and was allowed to come back a third time and they lost someone they loved.
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would you say i'm sorry. it didn't meet our priority level. we will not apologize for that. >> mr. miller, does the president still have confidence in his national security adviser? >> that's a question that i think you should ask the president. the question you should ask reince the chief of staff and i am here as a policy advisers and my job is to answer the policy questions that you have. he's head of the intelligence agency, and i look forward to having more discussions about this in the future. >> the white house did not give you anything to say other than that -- >> they did not give me anything to say. >> so you cannot say -- >> asked and answered, chuck. >> the president still has confidence his national security officer. >> it's not for me to answer what's on the president's mind and that's a question for our chief of staff. asked and answered, chuck. >> if you were caught misleading the president of the united states would that be considered
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a fireable offense in the trump white house? >> it's not for me to answer hypotheticals. it would not be responsible and it's a sensitive matter. general flynn served his country with distinction and i look forward to have the conversation with you once you've had the chance to have the conversation with the appropriate people. >> stephen miller, thanks for co