Trump Purges DHS to Pursue Radical Nativist Agenda

[Content Note: Nativism; authoritarianism.]

Following the departure of former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, presumably because she wasn't extreme enough for Donald Trump's vile nativist agenda, of which senior policy advisor Stephen Miller is the primary architect, Trump, reportedly at Miller's urging, is orchestrating a purge of DHS, in order to leave no one but loyalists who will unquestioningly facilitate increasingly extreme anti-immigrant policy.

Nick Miroff, Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Carol D. Leonnig at the Washington Post report:
[Donald] Trump continued to dismantle the leadership of the nation's top domestic security agency Monday, as the White House announced the imminent removal of U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. "Tex" Alles, the latest in a series of head-spinning departures from the Department of Homeland Security.

..."They are decapitating the entire department," said one DHS official, noting that the White House had given no cause for Alles's removal.

The instability extends to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose director, William "Brock" Long, left DHS in February after supervising emergency and recovery efforts for several massive natural disasters. L. Francis Cissna, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and DHS General Counsel John Mitnick could be the next to go, DHS officials said Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly of their frustrations with the White House.

...With nearly two dozen agencies and sub-agencies, DHS is responsible for safeguarding the country's immigration system, cyber-networks, land borders, and coasts, as well as responding to disasters and protecting the country's public officials.

Trump is furious about the department's inability to reduce unauthorized migration to the United States, with one of his signature campaign issues devolving into a glaring failure. Several administration officials said Monday that Trump appears to be taking out his frustrations on the entire DHS leadership, convinced he needs a full sweep.
Otherwise known as a purge. Driven by this lawless, white supremacist president's desire to ignore international law to step up his war on migrant people, including asylum-seeking refugees who have a legal right to request sanctuary at the border.

When Trump signed his executive order (ostensibly) halting family separations last summer, I warned that his endgame would be proposing "keeping families together" in indefinite detention. And here we are:
DHS officials are now looking for a way to satisfy the president's demand for "tough" measures, including a plan called "binary choice" that would give migrant parents the option of remaining detained as a family or agreeing to a separation so that their children would not remain in immigration custody.
Further, Trump continues to threaten to close the border, if he doesn't get what he wants:
Trump wanted the border closed two weeks ago but was dissuaded by Nielsen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, among others. Nielsen has told confidants that she felt uncomfortable with some of the president's requests, particularly closing the border, and thought that the president did not understand many of the laws governing immigration.

"He just wants drastic, drastic action," said another White House official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, adding that it is others who say, "We can't do that."
Trump's threat to close the border is not just about keeping people out. When a border is closed, it's also — effectively, even if not intentionally — about keeping people in.

Also, as I noted last night on Twitter: The discussion about Trump closing parts of the southern border must include the contemporary context that much of our produce comes across that border, as well as the historical context that dictators often starve their own people.

Yes, it could happen here. Especially if we insist on pretending it couldn't.

Trump is unfathomably cruel to migrants and refugees, and he is actively working to fill leadership positions in his administration with people who will abet that cruelty. Why anyone imagines he won't eventually turn that cruelty on the rest of us is beyond me.

He will. Because the members of his party empowered to stop him refuse to do it.

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