President Donald Trump has fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she defied the White House, questioning the legality of his new immigration ban. The lawyer, who was appointed by Barack Obama and was remaining in charge until Trump appointed his own attorney general, has been described as ‘betraying the justice department.’
The controversial immigration ban, which has seen entry from seven Muslim-majority countries stopped for 90 days, has drawn criticism from many areas. Major airports in New York have seen chaotic scenes with hundreds of protestors campaigning long into the night, trying to get the ban overturned. British Olympian and Somalian born Sir Mo Farah has been one of the most vocal public figures speaking out against the ban, describing it as “ignorant and prejudice.”
Now, Sally Yates has lost her job after taking the surprising measure of refusing to defend the White House’s decision and ordering lawyers not to enforce President Trump’s orders. She said “As long as I am the acting attorney general, the department of justice will not present arguments in defence of the Executive Order.”
Within hours of this statement being made, the White House announced that Ms Yates had been relieved of her duties and said in statement: “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration. It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”
President Trump has replaced her with US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Dana Boente. Acting director of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Daniel Ragsdale, has also been replaced, however no explanation has been given as to why. He has been replaced by Thomas Homan.
The immigration order has also suspended the Syrian refugee program indefinitely, and suspended the entire US refugee admissions programme for 120 days, with President Trump saying the country needs a more rigorous vetting process.
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