cover image Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration

Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration

Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear. Simon & Schuster, $28 (480p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1739-9

New York Times reporters Davis and Shear debut with a vivid, revelatory account of President Trump’s attempts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system. According to the authors, the centerpiece of that agenda, the border wall, was “conceived of almost by accident” but quickly became an obsession of Trump’s, as well as an “operational, legislative, and legal quagmire.” They see a similar pattern in efforts to ban Muslim travelers, end the DACA program that protects undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, separate migrant children from their parents at the border, and add a citizenship question to the U.S. census. The authors credit former campaign CEO Steve Bannon, former attorney general Jeff Sessions, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller with creating the framework for Trump’s nativist program, and reveal that Miller convened a secret policy group to “churn out radical new ideas” on immigration policy. Standing in opposition to the hardliners is former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, among others. Davis and Shear’s fast-paced, richly detailed narrative underscores the chaos surrounding the White House without minimizing the fact that it’s now “more dangerous and costly to be undocumented” in America than it has been in decades. The result is an essential inquiry into Trump’s bet that his “take-no-prisoners” approach to immigration will win him the 2020 election. (Oct.)