“Battle emerging inside Trump administration over who controls immigration and refugees”

The Washington Post

“When President Trump spoke of the need to defend Western civilization…many saw an effort by him and some of his top White House advisers to redefine the mission of American foreign policy away from building relationships and spreading democratic principles, to a more protective stance drawing sharp lines between the United States and those perceived as threats.

“One emerging flash point in that struggle is the internal administration debate over which part of the government should be in charge of deciding who gets into the United States.

“Ever since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act…that mission has been charged to the State Department. 

“…A document crafted by senior White House advisers…includes proposals to move the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration over to the Department of Homeland Security. White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, who helped craft the document, has reportedly been pushing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to get ‘tougher’ on immigration, vetting and refugee policy at the State Department.

“One White House official cautioned that these proposals resulted from a brainstorming session focused on improving efficiencies across government and were far from being approved. 

“…Although the State Department’s internal reorganization plans are still under review, spokeswoman Heather Nauert…[said] that Tillerson believes the two bureaus should remain where they are and he views consular and refugee work ‘as essential to the Department’s mission to secure our borders and protect the American people.’

“…Leading Democrats in Congress side with Tillerson and are prepared to fight the White House if it pursues the change. 

“…Refugee resettlement is not an immigration program but, rather, a humanitarian program and a diplomatic tool…

“…[Congressman] Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), said that placing these tasks in the hands of law enforcement ‘suggests that we view non-Americans as suspicious and maybe even a threat.’ 

“…Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) said there’s no evidence that shifting these functions from the State Department to DHS would make the American people safer or the visa process more efficient. DHS already plays a role in vetting visa applicants.”

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