In the days since Donald Trump’s executive order to halt immigration from seven countries with large Muslim populations, there have been protests at airports around the country, in front of the White House, and marching through city streets. And while some lawmakers and politicians have spoken out, and lawyers have been working around the clock to repeal the order, the Department of Homeland Security and Border Patrol agents have continued to enforce Trump’s orders.
Yesterday, Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates was fired after releasing a statement saying that Justice Department lawyers would not defend Trump’s order in court, questioning the legality of the immigration ban.
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote in a letter to Justice Department lawyers. “For as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
The White House immediately got wind of Yates’ statement, and not only removed her, but also released statements disparaging Yates, who acted as Deputy Attorney General during the Obama administration.
According to the New York Times, The White House released a statement saying that Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
The firing sent yet another set of shockwaves through the country, showing once again that Trump’s administration does not respect the traditional checks and balances set in place to regulate the Executive branch.
Dana Boente, who replaced Yates last night, told the Washington Post that he would enforce Trump’s ban in court.
“Yes, I will,” Boente told the Post. “I was enforcing it this afternoon. Our career department employees were defending the action in court, and I expect that’s what they’ll do tomorrow, appropriately and properly.”
AG Ferguson signs first state lawsuit to challenge Trump immigration Executive Order. pic.twitter.com/5gaIQuMFiR— WA Attorney General (@AGOWA) January 31, 2017
But while Boente, and presumably Sessions - if he gets confirmed - will act as Trump’s muscle, the ACLU, immigration lawyers and some House and Senate Representatives have said they will continue to challenge the order.
AG Maura Healey's holding a noon presser on her challenge against Trump's immigration executive order (feat. big Mass universities) pic.twitter.com/RsBVnclzD1— Lauren Dezenski (@LaurenDezenski) January 31, 2017