WASHINGTON (CBSMiami/AP) — President Donald Trump has fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she ordered Justice Department attorneys to stop defending Trump’s travel ban.
Trump’s 90-day ban, imposed on Friday, affects travel to the United States by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also suspends refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely bars the processing of refugees from Syria.
It is up to the Justice Department to defend the order in court, the acting Attorney General – who was appointed by President Barack Obama – said no.
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” said Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. “I am not convinced that the executive order is lawful (so) the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced that Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, will take over as acting Attorney General.
“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” a White House statement read late Monday. “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.”
Immediately after the ban was imposed, some citizens of the seven affected countries were denied flights to America. A total of 109 people were detained after landing and later released.
Meanwhile, the travel ban has now triggered criticism from former President Barack Obama. A spokesperson wrote, “The president fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
But Spicer said the reaction is overblown.
“There were 325,000 people who came into the country over a 24-0hour period from another country; 109 were stopped for additional screening,” Spicer said. “We’ve got to keep this in proportion, folks.”
Trump also let go of Daniel Ragsdale, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Thomas Homan, a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, has been appointed to the position.
He’s been in the leadership at ICE since 2013.
No word yet on why the previous acting director was fired.
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