“Poor Ike,” said Harry Truman of Dwight Eisenhower, his successor-elect as US president in 1952. “He’ll sit here and he’ll say ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen.” Used to armies, who mostly do as instructed, the great Allied commander now had to run something as opaque and unresponsive as the federal bureaucracy. He fared well enough in the end — behold those interstate highways of his — but another golf nut and political rube has fulfilled Truman’s wry prophecy after all. With most of his presidential term already behind him, Donald Trump is still fiddling dissatisfiedly with a government he regards as unco-operative. The immigration apparatus is a special nuisance to him. He has edged out Kirstjen Nielsen as the secretary of homeland security. He has withdrawn his nominee to run immigration and customs enforcement. He is toppling the leadership of the US citizenship and immigration services. The reason for this cull? As he sees it, bureaucratic squeamishness in the enfor...

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