President Trump's senior policy advisor Stephen Miller just said this in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper:

The people that you don't connect with and understand, the people whose manufacturing have left, who've been besieged by high-crime communities, and who've been affected by a policy of uncontrolled immigration - those voices, those experiences don't get covered on this network.

I'm interested in the part in bold. I think it's clear from context that Miller is not talking about, say, the African American community, but rather about immigrant communities who are coming into America and besieging Americans with crime.

So my question is, is it true that there are high-crime immigrant communities in the US?

  • 2
    Those could be three different groups. Jan 7, 2018 at 18:59
  • @mhoran_psprep Yeah, I'm not saying that the "people" he lists in the three clauses are the same, but I'm saying that the "communities" he's talking about are immigrant communities. I think that's clear from his use of words like "besieged". Jan 7, 2018 at 19:01
  • 3
    "affected by … immigration" does not mean it's an immigrant community.
    – Kevin
    Jan 7, 2018 at 19:04
  • I don't see a statement here that can be objectively shown true or false - only rhetoric. I suppose one could pose a question "are there communities where more than X% of the population are immigrants in which the crime rate exceeds the national average by Y%" but that would mean reading an awful lot into Miller's words. Jan 7, 2018 at 19:29
  • 7
    The claim seems rather vague; it's just a right-wing talking point that is about feelings, but can't really be fact-checked. How many immigrants are enough to call it a 'besiegement'? And what do they have to do to call it that? Or is their pure existence enough? And what is 'high-crime'? Apart from that, I'm not sure that 'high-crime communities' actually refers to immigrants (I read it as a dog-whistle for 'black').
    – tim
    Jan 7, 2018 at 19:29

1 Answer 1


There is no transcript of the interview but I listened to it. It is difficult to hear and understand, because Jake Tapper and Stephen Miller are interrupting each other constantly, and less than a minute later, Tapper ends the interview abruptly.

Starting at about the 8 minute mark of this highly contentious 12 minute interview, Miller says,

There's not a lot of coverage on this TV [station] talking about the working class construction workers who have lost their jobs to foreign labor. There is not a lot of coverage on this TV [station] about the people getting slaughtered in sanctuary cities. You don't do a lot of human interest stories about immigrant communities under siege from from the MS-13.

Miller repeats a much less cogent version of that statement at the 11:15 minute mark, which is the passage quoted in the question.

Miller is referring to MS-13, an organized crime cartel from El Salvador and Honduras. Yes, there are communities in the United States that have experienced horrific violence from MS-13 gang members.

There are communities in

In some cases, the communities affected are immigrant communities. So in other words, both non-immigrant and legal immigrant communities are besieged by MS-13 criminals (who are illegal immigrants).

Note too that MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, was named a transnational criminal organization five years ago, and its origins go back twenty years, long before Trump or his immediate predecessors were in office.

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