Donald Trump says he’s just enforcing immigration law. But it’s not that simple [with Mat Coleman and Amna Akbar]
From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his candidacy in 2015, Donald Trump has emphasized that he was determined to enforce U.S. immigration law. Secretary John Kelly, while still heading the DHS, put it even more simply, saying, “the law deports people. Secretary Kelly doesn’t.” That formulation is far too simplistic. Laws don’t enforce themselves; people make decisions about how to enforce them. That’s why the same laws are enforced differently from one county sheriff to the next — and from one U.S. president to the next. Enforcement is where the law is figured out, in practice, involving tinkering, experimentation, conflict, and negotiation among stakeholders.