MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Three dozen prominent former United States Attorneys, Assistant United States Attorneys from the Southern District have signed on to a statement opposing Donald Trump’s executive order which temporarily bans refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries.
The ban, which Trump claims is all about safety and not religion, faces numerous legal challenges.
Two of the former United States Attorneys for South Florida who signed the statement were appointed by Republican Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush.
Marcos Daniel Jimenez, appointed by the junior Bush, not only joined in slamming President Trump’s immigration order, but also quit the Republican party over the Trump candidacy.
“I have decided that I will no longer be associated…with a party that is led by a bigoted, dangerous demagogue…a party dominated by fear, anger and hate,” Jimenez said in a statement issued when it was clear Trump would win the GOP nomination.
Former U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez, a Republican appointee, is among those who signed the statement calling Trump’s order unlawful.
“In the history of our great nation, we have gone through periods where we’ve discriminated against people based on their religion. We’ve done that with Jews, we’ve done that with Catholics, and now we’re doing it in a thinly-veiled way to exclude Muslims,” said Martinez. He also said, “His words carry a huge amount of significance, and he needs to choose them carefully. And I would also advise him that he has to represent everybody, not just certain factions.”
In their statement opposing the ban, the attorneys state if they were strictly adhering to the principles of the law, they could not uphold the executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
“We could not candidly tell a court, consistent with these principles, that the Executive Order is not, in fact, a thinly veiled attempt to exclude Muslims from certain countries based on their religion.”
“We could not candidly tell a court, consistent with these principles, that the United States has the right to bar admission to people who are otherwise lawfully permitted to enter the United States, based solely on the fact that others of their religion are perceived to be potential security threats.”
They point out that adhering to the principles of the law cost former acting-U.S. Attorney Sally Yates, a career government lawyer, her job because she declined to enforce the order because she was not convinced that it was lawful.
They too said they would have been fired if they were in her position.
“If we were called upon to defend the Executive Order, could we do it within the guidelines we learned and lived by as lawyers for the United States? We could not.”
The attorneys conclude that, in short, that measures listed in the order are not in line with the Justice Department and the United States because it allows for individuals to be treated more harshly on account of their religion.
“In our view, that is exactly what the Executive Order does, and is intended to do. It would be our job, if we were representing the United States today, to say, no, this Executive Order is wrong and should not be defended.”