Friday, July 19, 2019
Civil servants have long resisted presidential immigration policies. However, bureaucratic opposition to President Trump’s immigration directives is more united and widespread than it has been in response to any previous president. Moreover, while resistance to the policies of past administrations may have led to relenting by superiors, retaliation against resistance is the norm under the current administration, despite the fact that this resistance has resulted from principled “dissonance” between civil servants’ understanding of their core responsibilities and the priorities emphasized by new political directives. Rather than condemnation, however, frequent incidents of resistance from divergent factions of the immigration bureaucracy, particularly if met with a harsh response from the President, should be characterized as a “fire alarm” imploring a congressional response.