State Department dissent memo: ‘We are better than this ban’

The Washington Post reports: Dozens of State Department officials are expected to sign a memo opposing President Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries, activating the famous “Dissent Channel,” which diplomats have used for decades, to oppose what they see as wrongheaded policies put forth by the Trump White House.

“A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer,” reads a draft of the Dissent Channel memo, which I obtained. “Moreover, such a policy runs counter to core American values of nondiscrimination, fair play, and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and immigrants.”

The memo focuses on Section 3 of the executive order Trump signed Jan. 27, which temporarily suspends the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits for citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. As of Monday morning, edits and signatures were still being collected in advance of submitting the memo to State Department leadership. [Continue reading…]

The New York Times reports: The State Department confirmed the existence of the memo on Monday, and it affirmed the right of its staff to dissent.

“This is an important process that the acting secretary, and the department as a whole, respect and value,” said a spokesman, Mark Toner. “It allows State employees to express divergent policy views candidly and privately to senior leadership.”

The speed with which the memo was assembled and the number of signers underscore the degree to which the State Department has become the center of the resistance to Mr. Trump’s order. More broadly, it represents objections to his efforts to cut back on American participation in international organizations and to issue ultimatums to allies.

Not surprisingly, the diplomats and Civil Service officers of the State Department are among the most internationally minded in the government; they have lived around the world and devoted their careers to building alliances and promoting American values abroad. [Continue reading…]

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