By now, we all know about Stephen Miller—but you should also know that behind the scenes, one of Miller’s key allies, another xenophobic ideologue, has quietly moved up the ladder in Trump’s administration. Meet John Zadrozny:
Both Stephen Miller and John Zadrozny have ties to an SPLC-identified anti-immigrant hate group.
While Miller has long been an ally of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Zadrozny actually worked for the organization as legislative counsel. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FAIR as an anti-immigrant hate group whose “veneer hides much ugliness.” The organization’s own mission statement proclaims that FAIR wants to reduce legal immigration by two-thirds, and its founder has “corresponded with Holocaust deniers, former Klan lawyers and the leading white nationalist thinkers of the era.”
Instead of seeing his career hampered by an association with such an extreme group, Zadrozny has risen through Republican offices. After working at FAIR, Zadrozny was counsel to Sen. Ted Cruz and the Committee on Foreign Relations, according to his LinkedIn page.
As Stephen Miller has increased his influence in the Trump administration, Zadrozny has bounced from agency to agency, peddling Miller’s policies.
He first entered the Trump administration as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Homeland Security in Trump’s Domestic Policy Council. In that role, emails we uncovered show he engaged with Education official Diane Auer Jones over the scandal-plagued for-profit college accreditor ACICS—not out of concern for students but rather because another anti-immigrant group claimed that some of the schools were being used as so-called “visa mills.” Zadrozny planned at least one meeting with Auer Jones and ICE officials, telling Auer Jones that the ICE officials “would be interested in what we discussed.”
Then in summer 2018, Zadrozny moved to the State Department, where he joined the Policy Planning Staff. While Zadrozny was at State, he was involved with the Department’s own (illegal) public charge policy change, and helped tout the release of the government’s data that State was denying more visas on public charge grounds.
The Policy Planning Staff also “wields influence” over the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration—a bureau that has so far resisted Trump’s continued attempts to essentially eliminate it through defunding.
In Summer 2019, John Zadrozny followed Ken Cuccinelli to the Department of Homeland Security.
After Ken Cuccinelli’s (unlawful) appointment as Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Zadrozny left State to join him there. He became USCIS deputy chief of staff in Cuccinelli’s office as part of a push to bolster immigration-hardliners’ presence in the agency. FAIR’s government relations director praised the move. Since Cuccinelli and Zadrozny arrived at the agency, USCIS has issued illegal policies that make it harder to seek asylum, along with other anti-immigrant policies.
Now John Zadrozny is USCIS Acting Chief of Staff.
Zadrozny was promoted to Acting Chief of Staff in mid-November 2019 as part of yet another rout for the anti-immigrant extremists within the Trump administration. Along with Zadrozny, Robert Law became acting chief of policy and Kathy Nuebel Kovarik became acting deputy director. This is not the first time Zadrozny and Law have worked together—Law also worked at FAIR, and the group’s president thinks the promotions are “delightful.” Even before her promotion, Kovarik was reportedly the author of the memo recommending deportation, rather than deferred action, for immigrants receiving treatment for serious medical conditions. Now with Cuccinelli even further up the ranks at DHS, one thing is clear: anti-immigrant zealots and Stephen Miller allies have power at the agency.
We know a lot about where John Zadrozny has worked in the administration, but we don’t know as much about what he has worked on.
Here’s what we want to know:
- What did Auer Jones and Zadrozny discuss about ACICS before Ed reinstated it? What did Auer Jones eventually discuss with ICE?
- Did Zadrozny push to defund or weaken the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration?
- Has he communicated with his former FAIR colleagues about administration policies?How has he pushed FAIR’s extreme anti-immigrant agenda in each of his roles?
- Has he coordinated with other anti-immigrant groups, like the Center for Immigration Studies?
- What is Zadrozny’s role in developing policy at USCIS? How closely is he working with another recently-promoted immigration hardliner, USCIS Acting Deputy Director Kathy Kovarik?