Enforcement, without apology

My conservative friends who insist that Trump’s viciousness and oafishness are merely aesthetic concerns or questions of etiquette — the man of earthy authenticity offending polite society in Washington — are grievously mistaken. Trump’s indiscipline and instability are the biggest barriers to securing Republicans’ agenda in Washington today. Trump finds a way to be wrong even about the things he basically has right, and he wrong-foots the Republicans’ already stumbling congressional leadership in the process.

Our progressive friends in the media will fill the airwaves with the tears and wailing of deportees, and we will be treated to no end of sympathetic stories. But neither the Trump administration nor the country should feel too much regret about enforcing the law without apology. In the case of illegal immigration as with the question of the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws, Congress has for too long punted the moral and legal football over to the president, asking the executive branch to save its bacon by refusing to enforce laws that Congress does not have the guts to repeal or reform. Congress has for years chosen not to act, and that is as much as choice as the decision to act. Democrats are making a lot of noise about it just at the moment, but recall that when Democrats enjoyed simultaneous control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they did not act on the question of childhood arrivals. As with Republicans and the deficit, Democrats really get religion on amnesty when they are in the minority.

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