It strikes me as a bit ironic that the Trump administration would brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a force that is endowed with the power to enforce strict rule on citizens and defend the nation from “infidels,” as a terrorist organization on the same day that Trump sacks DHS Secretary Nielsen for not enforcing his policy of separating refugee children from their parents at the southern border. Apparently she and Trump disagreed about the policy, so he fired her and will bring in someone who will have no qualms about putting children in cages.
Not that Ms. Nielsen had a problem with that; she had already made it clear in testimony before Congress that the policy was fine with her. She just didn’t want to get entangled in lawsuits because they’re messy and expensive — for her. She was fired because she let legal considerations interfere with her thinking, and that doesn’t go down well with Trump.
Trump has for months urged his administration to reinstate large-scale separation of migrant families crossing the border, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of meetings at the White House.
Trump’s outgoing Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resisted — setting her at odds with the president.
According to two of the sources, Nielsen told Trump that federal court orders prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from reinstating the policy, and that he would be reversing his own executive order from June that ended family separations.
Three U.S. officials said that Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Patrol who is expected to take over as acting DHS secretary, has not ruled out family separation as an option.
The policy McAleenan would consider, according to the officials, is known as “binary choice” and would give migrant parents the option between being separated from their children or bringing their children with them into long-term detention.
This renewed jihadism against immigrants is coming not just from Trump himself. The purge of DHS and the reinstatement of the policy — despite Trump’s own executive order ending it last summer — comes from Stephen Miller, the presidential adviser who one person on Twitter claimed was the result of crossing Pee Wee Herman and Josef Goebbels.
Trump is cleaning house in the Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles have been ousted, and at least two officials have been named as possibly heading out the door: US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Francis Cissna and Office of the General Counsel’s John Mitnick.
There is a near-systematic purge happening at the nation’s second-largest national security agency,” an official told CNN.
At least some of the sudden personnel changes come at the urging of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, who played a key role in Nielsen’s ouster. The President in recent weeks empowered Miller to lead the administration’s border policies “and he’s executing his plan” with what amounts to a wholesale decapitation of the department’s leadership, an official said.
The President has also pushed in recent weeks to reinstate the family separation policy, which Nielsen resisted, a source familiar with the discussions says. Trump rescinded that policy amid public outrage and scrutiny from the courts last summer.
Miller’s heightened influence within the West Wing has been aided by the President, who recently told aides in an Oval Office meeting that Miller was in charge of all immigration and border-related issues in the White House, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
So while the Iranian Revolutionary Guard gets labeled as a terrorist organization, Trump is trying to remake DHS and ICE into something modeled after it.
Last Friday, the President visited Calexico, California, where he said, “We’re full, our system’s full, our country’s full — can’t come in! Our country is full, what can you do? We can’t handle any more, our country is full. Can’t come in, I’m sorry. It’s very simple.”
Behind the scenes, two sources told CNN, the President told border agents to not let migrants in. Tell them we don’t have the capacity, he said. If judges give you trouble, say, “Sorry, judge, I can’t do it. We don’t have the room.”
After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability. You have to follow the law, they were told.
And the march toward authoritarianism continues.