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Watchdog sues gov't for info about controversial Trump adviser

Adviser Stephen Miller attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on November 19, 2019. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
Adviser Stephen Miller attends a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on November 19, 2019. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A government ethics watchdog filed a lawsuit against several federal agencies Wednesday to obtain information about the involvement of White House adviser Stephen Miller in the Trump administration's "public charge" immigration rule.

American Oversight said the suit seeks information from communications, including emails, between Miller and the Departments of Labor, Housing and Agriculture and the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services.

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The watchdog said Miller is the architect of the "public charge" rule, which allows the government to restrict immigration based on how likely it is any given migrant would apply for food stamps, Medicaid or other domestic services while living in the United States. American Oversight, and other critics of the rule, say it amounts to a "wealth test."

Miller has been an outspoken critic of unlawful immigration and in the past has been accused of having a white supremacist ideology. He is widely believed to have led President Donald Trump's tougher immigration policies. Federal lawmakers introduced legislation this month that called for Miller's condemnation.

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"Stephen Miller has remained one of President Donald Trump's most influential aides," American Oversight said in a statement. "He has been the architect of the administration's Muslim-country travel ban, the defender of zero-tolerance family separation, the advocate of reducing refugee admissions and the promoter of rules that would allow the government to deny green cards to immigrants considered likely to use public assistance."

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The "public charge" rule, which took effect Monday, restricts legal immigrants from receiving government assistance. After it was introduced last year, the rule was challenged in federal court until the U.S. Supreme Court voted to affirm it in a 5-4 vote Friday.

The lawsuit is part of American Oversight's overall investigation of Miller.

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