Rex Tillerson is reportedly clashing with Stephen Miller over immigration and who controls the State Department

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is clashing with top White House aide Stephen Miller, Politico reports, over immigration policy and State Department leadership.

"Miller pushed Tillerson and the State Department to be tougher on immigration and make changes to the programs they control," four unnamed sources told Politico, and the two men were observed in a strained conversation in which Tillerson was "quite clear" he expects autonomy as head of State. Per Politico's sources, Tillerson is chafing at the expectation that he would take direction from substantially younger and less experienced administration figures like Miller.

Miller is reportedly working on legislation and regulatory changes to cut back on legal immigration, including refugee admissions. The State Department currently houses the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the agencies responsible for refugee vetting as well as visa and passport issuance. A White House memo reported by CNN Friday indicated the Trump administration may move those offices under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security, a change that would fit President Trump's broader preference for State Department cuts.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.