Chad Wolf is stepping down w barely a week left in Trump’s term. For many months Wolf’s been dogged by legal questions (& court judgments) abt how he was serving illegitimately as acting DHS sec’y. How will he be remembered in the post? 1/
He’ll go down as a Trump shill who did the bidding of the White House at the very real cost of inflicting permanent damage on DHS as an institution. His handling of protests this past summer was militant and widely decried by his Republican & Democratic predecessors. 2/
DHS agents were deployed in DC to crack down on peaceable BLM protestors. They were sent to other major cities (NYC, Philly) to police crowds. In Portland, Wolf personally riled up his agents beforehand in what one former official described to me as a “pep rally.” 3/
As one former senior DHS official told me at the time, re: Wolf: “The nightly disturbances in Portland were not national news until now. Dept leadership is putting officers in a very difficult position by not explaining what they’re doing and why...4/
“...what are they doing pulling people into minivans rented from the Portland airport? How does protecting federal property become pepper-spraying and batoning people?” 5/
He sent DHS personnel into sanctuary cities as a show of force & intimidation. And all thru the Presidential campaign, DHS put up billboards with photos of “violent immigrant offenders” in swing states and senior personnel gave press conferences championing Trump’s toughness. 6/
The timing of his resignation is telling. It comes after an attack on the Capitol incited by Trump, whom Wolf *loyally* served during a time when most other people at DHS were jumping ship. And it comes before he could work on security for the Biden inauguration. End/

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More from @JonathanBlitzer

22 Dec 20
As usual, so much vying for our attention. But tonight two members of Biden team gave the most detailed interview to date abt incoming Admin’s plans for dealing w asylum, Central American migration, & the southern border. It was more a statement of purpose than an action plan. 1/
There are very encouraging signs and, as expected, some lacunae. A few noteworthy details: (1) The advisors said Biden will “expand legal pathways for migration...allowing people to apply for refugee resettlement & temporary worker and employment-based programs” in the region. 2/
All presidential admins (some MUCH more cynically than others) stress the dangerousness of the overland journey to the US. It obviously *is* dangerous. It’s also true that large #s of those arriving at US border don’t qualify for asylum under strict dictates of US imm law. 3/
Read 17 tweets
30 Oct 20
Absolute blockbuster report from @aflores w an early look at unpublished DHS IG report. At the peak of the family separation crisis in spring/summer of 2018, DHS officials insisted that there was a right and a wrong way to seek asylum at the border. 1/…
The "wrong way" was to cross the border *between ports of entry*. Anyone who did this was fair game for prosecution (i.e. separation from children). The "right way" was to ask for asylum at ports of entry. (This formulation isn't accurate or legal, but that's another issue.) 2/
According to this report, DHS was doing 2 things at the same time as it was telling people (falsely) that their only legitimate option for seeking asylum was to go to ports. (1) It formally instituted metering *at the ports* as a way to keep out up to 650 immigrants per day. 3/
Read 6 tweets
16 Sep 20
We're at DefCon1 levels of *gross mismanagement* @DHSgov at this point, where each day brings another massive scandal. So many of these scandals are unfolding at once, in real time, that it's worth highlighting the basic chronology of a few of them from past couple of weeks. 1/
(i) "Dept has been using major hotel chains to detain [hundreds of] children & families taken into custody at border, creating a largely unregulated shadow system of detention and swift expulsions." 2/…
Some context: This comes at a time when the Administration is using the pretext of the public health crisis (Covid) to openly flout immigration law--ignoring asylum, deporting unaccompanied kids, and dreaming up further cuts to legal immigration. 3/…
Read 9 tweets
10 Sep 20
All through the 80s, the US gov denied asylum applications from Salvadorans & Guatemalans at exorbitantly high rates for political reasons: the US was supporting the regimes that were brutalizing their own people & forcing them to flee. 1/
The political logic was simple & brutal: if the US granted asylum claims, then it would have to acknowledge that the Salvadoran and Guatemalan governments it was propping up (with aid $$, military advisors, etc) were murderous and incorrigible abusers of human rights. 2/
Eventually, after major legal challenge, US gov't conceded that it had politicized the asylum process & violated national (& int'l law). The settlement that followed (ABC v. Thornburgh) gave hundreds of thousands of Central Americans another chance at asylum/legal status in US 3/
Read 5 tweets
10 Sep 20
The DHS whistle-blower complaint provides even more evidence of how the dept has simply become a cesspool of Trumpism. There's one set of details concerning Central America that seems worth calling attention to, since it may get overshadowed by all the other scandalous stuff. 1/
"In Dec 2019, Murphy attended a meeting w Cuccinelli & Glawe to discuss intelligence reports regarding conditions in Guatemala, Honduras, & El Salvador. The intelligence reports were designed to help asylum officers render better determinations regarding their legal standards.2/
Murphy presented the reports to Cuccinelli in the meeting. "Murphy defended the work in the reports, but Cuccinelli stated he wanted changes to the information outlining high levels of corruption, violence, & poor economic conditions in the three respective countries." 3/
Read 6 tweets
5 Sep 20
A question in the form of a thread: I genuinely wonder how Chad Wolf is trying to position himself at this point. He’s become Trump’s first DHS head (acting) to fully embrace (& amplify) every politicized whim & crackpot demand from WH. And to try to identify himself w Trump. 1/
All of his predecessors (Kelly, Duke, Nielsen, McAleenan) did truly shocking things in support of the President’s agenda. But each of them tried to style him/herself as an independent actor, struggling to balance a department against an erratic President. 2/
That struggle was a cynical act, to be sure. But it reflected some recognition and awareness of a life beyond Trump; that they’d have to answer for themselves in some fashion, however superficially, down the line, whether in the private sector or in future public service. 3/
Read 7 tweets

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