According to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the agency’s new executive secretary is Clark Barrow, whom American Oversight has identified as a likely member of White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller’s hand-picked network of like-minded allies across the federal government. Records we obtained in the fall of 2019 in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation reveal that one such ally previously tried to place Barrow at the Social Security Administration for “help with information-sharing issues.”
ICE Senior Adviser Jon Feere’s effort to place Barrow in the SSA is particularly notable in light of Miller’s focus on the public charge rule, which prevents immigrants who receive or are likely to receive government benefits from getting green cards.
On Feb. 26, 2018, Feere sent an email to Miller. An earlier production of documents in response to our FOIA request shows that Feere wrote: “Attached is [redacted] resume for a position within the Social Security Administration. A position of Senior Advisor or similar will ensure he has some clout over there.”
Feere joined the administration after working at the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigration think tank designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. These emails and others were obtained by American Oversight and reported on by Rolling Stone in December 2019, and show how Miller has worked with advisers like Feere who share his far-right anti-immigration agenda.
A couple of weeks later, Feere forwarded his first email to an official whose name is redacted, possibly Miller, with the attachment “William Clark Barrow.pdf” and the message: “If we can get [redacted] into SSA, it would help with information-sharing issues. He’s ready to move from Treasury to SSA.” That official replied, “Adding [redacted] to make it happen with SSA.”
Barrow instead moved from the Treasury to the Department of Commerce, where he was the associate director of the executive secretariat. Barrow’s new placement at DHS is concerning given his potentially closer involvement in immigration-related matters. Miller already has direct contact with many officials at DHS and its components, as is evidenced by our timeline of the Trump administration’s family separation policy and our timeline of documents we’ve received that reference meetings or communications with Miller.
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