Standing against Trump: About 900 State Department officials sign dissent memo on Muslim ban

Reuters reports: About 900 U.S. State Department officials signed an internal dissent memo protesting a travel ban by U.S. President Donald Trump on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, a source familiar with the document said on Tuesday, in a rebellion against the new president’s policies.

A senior State Department official confirmed the memorandum had been submitted to acting Secretary of State Tom Shannon through the department’s “dissent channel,” a process in which officials can express unhappiness over policy (bit.ly/2jOYW0y).

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday he was aware of the memo but warned career diplomats that they should either “get with the program or they can go.”

A draft of the dissent memo seen by Reuters argued that the executive order would sour relations with affected countries, inflame anti-American sentiment and hurt those who sought to visit the United Spates for humanitarian reasons.

It said the policy “runs counter to core American values of non-discrimination, fair play and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and immigrants. [Continue reading…

San Francisco Chronicle reports: San Francisco police officers and sheriff’s deputies will not follow President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and arrest residents living in the city without proper documentation, Mayor Ed Lee, Police Chief William Scott and Sheriff Vicki Hennessy wrote in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security on Monday.

Holding strong to their commitment to stand against Trump in his crackdown on immigration and sanctuary cities, Lee, Scott and Hennessy said San Francisco’s public safety agencies will not enforce federal immigration law and that the city “declines to participate in any agreements” noted in the two executive orders Trump signed at the White House last week.

Both of Trump’s orders “empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.”

But Lee, Scott and Hennessy say in the letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly that it is “in the interest of public safety” that San Francisco officers and deputies do not enforce federal immigration law. [Continue reading…

The Associated Press reports: Democrats in the California Senate ramped up their fight Tuesday against President Donald Trump, advancing a bill that would provide statewide sanctuary for immigrants by keeping local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

The move in the nation’s largest state — home to an estimated 2.3 million immigrants without legal authorization — came days after Trump launched a crackdown on immigration and sanctuary cities across the nation.

The state Senate Public Safety Committee approved the measure with a 5-2 party-line vote after Trump signed an order threatening to withdraw some federal grants from sanctuary cities. [Continue reading…]

Time reports: Zeinab’s son Bahman has been studying for a PhD in Virginia since 2014. So when the chance came to visit him this January, she leapt at it. She applied for a visa at the U.S. consulate in Dubai via a travel agency in Iran—a common way to obtain documentation.

That’s where her passport was, ready to be processed, when Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning Iranians and nationals of six other majority Muslim countries from the U.S. was signed. Her dreams of seeing her son have vanished. “I was so, so happy and now I am so, so sad,” says the 60-year-old, who now faces separation from her son until he finishes his studies in two years. “Everyone always said America was the beacon of freedom, but after this I’m not so sure.”

Thousands like Zeinab — who did not want to give her last name for fear of impacting her son’s status in the U.S.— feel personally targeted by Trump’s order, especially as relations between the two countries had experienced an uptick since the nuclear deal in 2015 between Iran and 6 major world powers including the United States.

Now those improved relations are under threat, as Iran’s conservatives see the order as an opportunity to score political points with only months to go before a presidential election. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, an MP and part of the loosely knit coalition of hardliners and conservatives called Principalists, said it violated the terms of the nuclear deal he and others like him are highly critical of. “Any action by America that prevents the creation of appropriate political and trade relations after the nuclear deal is a direct violation of it,” he was quoted as saying by the Tasnim News Agency on Monday.

Iran’s moderate President, Hassan Rouhani, who is seeking re-election, took a more cautious approach and only reminded everyone of the futility of building walls between nations — perhaps mindful of the fragility of a nuclear deal which he has staked his presidency on, but that Trump has promised to tear up: [Continue reading…]

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