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Stephen Miller tried to engineer another shakeup at Homeland Security



White House senior adviser Stephen Miller attempted to pick his own candidate to lead US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ended up bristling the acting Homeland Security secretary Kevin McAleenan in the process, according to a Washington Post report published Friday.

Miller asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to sideline former Border Patrol chief Mark Morgan, a former Obama administration official who was the presumptive candidate for acting ICE director. Miller advised Trump to retain acting director Matthew Albence and have Morgan lead the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

McAleenan was not happy with what Miller did and considered leaving his position on Thursday, according to three unnamed officials cited by The Post. McAleenan told acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that he was in charge of the Department of Homeland Security — which oversees ICE — and said he ought be included in conversations about the agency he runs.

Trump officials reportedly called the dispute to a “power struggle” and an “immigration knife fight.”

McAleenan eventually won the argument. Morgan is expected to lead ICE in an acting capacity and Albence is expected to serve as deputy director, according to The Post.

Read more: Stephen Miller ‘should own the policy’: Democratic lawmaker suggests nominating Trump adviser Stephen Miller to lead Homeland Security

Miller’s role in the Trump White House has been scrutinized amid numerous reports of dissent within the agency. Several establishment Homeland Security officials have been replaced in recent weeks in favor of candidates who are believed to be Trump loyalists, according to multiple news reports.

Miller has been instrumental in pushing the administration’s hardline immigration policies and is believed to have played a pivotal role in former Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s ouster in April.

Miller leaked unflattering statistics about asylum-seekers and detentions at the US-Mexico border in an effort to denigrate Nielsen prior to her departure, according to a Quartz report citing unnamed former Homeland Security officials. Miller did not respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.

Democratic leaders have criticized Miller for his role in shaping Trump’s controversial immigration policies. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York suggested Miller “is the true architect” of the measures, including the administration’s decision to separate some migrant families at the US-Mexico border in 2018.

“So I’ve got a proposal,” Rice said during a CNN interview in April. “How about Stephen Miller asks the president to appoint him as the secretary of [Department of Homeland Security] so he can be up front, and he can come to the committees on the Senate and the House side and answer questions about these policies that he is pushing single handedly.”

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