Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Behind Closed Doors: Inside the Trump Administration's Immigration Bureaucracy


Kevin McAleenan, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Two recent articles look behind closed doors and offer insights into the turmoil of the Trump administration's immigration bureaucracy.  I found them fascinating reading.

Michael D. Shear and Julie Hirschfeld Davis  in the New York Times looks at President Trump's mercurial push for action on immigration and a "culture change" in the Department of Homeland Security.  According to teh story, the President certainly has some novel -- and terrifying -- ideas on immigration enforcement policy initiatives:

"Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him."

Nick Miroff for the Washington Post offers some insights on the internal political dynamics of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Nearly six months after taking over at Department of Homeland Security as acting secretary and replacing Kirstjen Nielsen, Kevin McAleenan reportedly says that "he has lost command of the public messaging from his department and lacks some of the authority he was promised when he took the job. Increasingly isolated within the administration and overshadowed by others who are more effusive in their praise for President Trump . . . ." McAleenan further is quoted as saying that "he retains `operational' control of DHS — mainly the ability to coordinate work at the border among U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and Citizenship and Immigration Services. . . . But he acknowledged that he is losing the battle to keep DHS, which he views as a neutral law enforcement agency, from being used as a powerful tool for a partisan immigration agenda."


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