Trump’s real enemies

Damn, this quote from Jennifer Rubin on Trump’s immigration policies was so good:

Trump’s beef is not really with Nielsen. It’s with immigration law, the Constitution and reality. [emphasis mine] Instead of recognizing the problems currently at the border won’t be solved by a wall or by extra-legal steps to keep migrants out of the United States, Trump should be increasing (not cutting) aid to the Central American countries from which these people come, working cooperatively with these countries and the Mexican government, and ramping up the number of immigration judges to handle the caseload. And he might stop fear-mongering about “closing” the border, a move more likely to provoke migrants to come before the border “closes” than dissuade them from coming.

And while I’m at it, David Graham on Kirstjen Nielsen’s firing as DHS Secretary is really good:

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen’s firing on Sunday should slam the door on that debate. Her tenure is the plainest example yet of the futility of trying to restrain Trump from inside—and the personal cost to those who try…

Nielsen was not a Trump loyalist. She worked on homeland-security issues in the George W. Bush White House, which made her a good test for the restraint camp: She’s a professional bureaucrat and an expert in her field, rather than a Trumpist ideologue. Yet she leaves the administration inextricably associated with the most publicly reviled of the Trump administration’s many unpopular policies. Jeffrey Toobin summed up the damage to Nielsen on CNN: “[Trump] is the great reputation killer. Here is this woman who was a reasonably admired bureaucrat. For the rest of her life, people will look at her and think, Oh, that’s the woman who put children in cages.” [emphasis in original]

It’s remarkable how little Nielsen has to show for that. Trump’s border policies have been ineffective in stalling the flow of migrants to the border (though, as I have written, it’s not entirely clear that was their goal). Despite the policy of family separations, which the administration believed would deter asylum seekers, asylum claims soared in 2018, compared with 2017 (though there’s no telling how that number might have been different without the separations). Notwithstanding the pomp of Trump’s visit to Calexico, California, last week, no new sections of his beloved border wall have been built.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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