Civil Servant Alarm

40 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019

See all articles by Bijal Shah

Bijal Shah

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: May 13, 2019


Civil servants have long resisted presidential immigration policies. However, bureaucratic opposition to President Trump’s immigration directives is more united and widespread than it has been in response to any previous president. Moreover, while resistance to the policies of past administrations may have led to relenting by superiors, retaliation against resistance is the norm under the current administration, despite the fact that this resistance has resulted from principled “dissonance” between civil servants’ understanding of their core responsibilities and the priorities emphasized by new political directives. Rather than condemnation, however, frequent incidents of resistance from divergent factions of the immigration bureaucracy, particularly if met with a harsh response from the President, should be characterized as a “fire alarm” imploring a congressional response.

Suggested Citation

Shah, Bijal, Civil Servant Alarm (May 13, 2019). 94 Chicago-Kent Law Review 101 (2019 Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Bijal Shah (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Phoenix, AZ
United States

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