I swear that president Trump and his immigration hardline advisor Stephen Miller have all the political instincts of a sack of hammers.
After getting thumped in the midterms a few months ago, in part over his scare tactics about the hordes of invaders pouring across the border with Mexico, and forcibly separating children from their parents then caging them, Trump and Miller seem to have decided the best course of action is to…go even more hardline.
A Purge At DHS
Trump fired DHS Secretary Nielsen, pulled his top Immigration and Customs (ICE) pick, and threatened more high level firings, specifically the DHS General Counsel and US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director.
Trump has stated that the administration is going in a “tougher direction”, which sounds ominous. It is, but I’m curious to see what happens.
Reportedly, he fired Nielsen because she wasn’t hardline enough – even though she oversaw the administration’s policy of separating children from their parents. But in fairness to her, she apparently also tried to explain to him that asylum laws allow Central American migrants to come to the US and gain entry.
She refused to break the law, and he fired her.
So, now that he’s reportedly encouraging border patrol agents and the head of CBP to break the law, what’s the pushback going to be?
He surely has the right to fire whom he pleases; but, he doesn’t have the right to force people in his administration to break the law no matter how exasperated he gets of being told he can’t break it.
(After he left the room, the agents sought their leaders’ advice, and were told they have to follow the law.)
Let’s Make Stephen Miller DHS Secretary
But wait! I have a suggestion: nominate Stephen Miller for DHS Secretary. He’s been advising Trump all along; as head of the DHS wouldn’t he be obliged to do whatever Trump wanted even if it’s illegal?
Then he could be prosecuted and convicted, and put away for years.
I don’t know about you, but he’s an odious person and I’d be delighted to have him nowhere near a powerful position in our country.
Tear More Families Apart
CNN recently reported that Trump wants to expand the family separation policy – the same one that resulted in his party taking a beating in the 2018 midterms.
He proposed a policy that Secretary Nielsen told him was illegal, and it would be a PR disaster, but he’s in such a high rage that he doesn’t seem to care. “He just wants to separate families,” said a senior administration official.
None of this is a surprise. Weirdly, he wants to separate families because he thinks it deters migrants from coming to the US. Yet in the year since the family separation policy became a huge scandal, even more families than before are crossing the border.
You and I may find it odd – I sure do – but separating families encourages more families to come.
Where Will It End?
To me, watching this situation unfold is like witnessing the proverbial train wreck. It’s horrifying and yet I can’t look away.
I’d like to say with a straight face “This isn’t who we are as a country,” but history shows it’s exactly who we are. At times.
Think of the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow, even the women’s rights movement came about because we women refused to accept second-class citizen status anymore.
Though our social justice progress has lurched along over the centuries, the trajectory is ever upward, and in this I take heart.
We Americans can still come together with compassion and respect to say “No more of this”. And for that, I’m glad.