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Trump sacks acting attorney general for refusing to enforce immigration order – White House

People's Daily Online

People’s Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:39, January 31, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday night fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, hours after she ordered the Justice Department not to defend his temporary ban on refugee and immigration that sparked nationwide protests and worldwide criticism.

“Ms. Yates is an Obama administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” said a White House statement.

Trump appointed Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to replace Yates until his nominee, Senator Jeff Sessions, is confirmed by the Senate, local media reported.

Yates had been deputy attorney general before serving as acting chief of the Justice Department from Jan. 20, when Trump was sworn in.

“Consequently, for as long as I am the acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” Yates said in a letter to the department on Monday.

“My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts,” she said.

“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” she added.

Her remarks echoed Democratic lawmakers’ ongoing fight aimed to urge Trump to rescind his executive order temporarily barring U.S. entry to refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

On Monday evening, House and Senate Democrats, holding up candles, gathered at the Supreme Court with thousands of supporters in protest against the controversial order.

Afterwards, Senate Democrats kicked off a talkathon of floor speeches, urging Trump to rescind the ban, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called counterproductive, dangerous and evil, noting Trump’s move “raises serious doubts” about his competence.

In response, Trump on Twitter attacked the Democrats “have nothing going but to obstruct,” calling Yates an “Obama A.G.”

Earlier on Monday, former President Barack Obama also voiced his support for the protests against Trump’s controversial immigration ban.

“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,” Kevin Lewis, Obama’s spokesman said.

Trump has compared his order to Obama’s 2011 moves to restrict entries from Iraq after two Iraqis were arrested in the United States on terrorism charges.

“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” said Lewis.

Trump tweeted early Monday that “only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning” due to his execution order, blaming “protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer” for chaos across U.S. airports in the past two days.

Schumer tweeted Friday that “Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty” over the ban.

On Sunday, attorneys general from 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, all Democrats, condemned Trump’s ban as “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.”

In a joint statement, they vowed to “use all of the tools of our offices to fight this unconstitutional order and preserve our nation’s national security and core values.”

Under the executive order Trump signed Friday, refugees from all over the world will be suspended U.S. entry for 120 days while all immigration from the so-called “countries with terrorism concerns” will be suspended for 90 days.

Countries included in the ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

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