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United States President Donald Trump has sacked the U.S acting Attorney General appointed by his predecessor Barack Obama after she instructed government law officers to not defend his executive order that put restrictions on people from seven Muslim-majority countries traveling into the country.

Sally Yates “has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” a White House statement issued on Monday night said.

“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,”

the statement said, capping a day that saw Mr. Obama wading into the controversy, supporting protestors and questioning his successor.

Read more: Silicon Valley puts money and muscle into fighting Trump immigrant ban

Before leaving office less than a fortnight ago, Mr. Obama had said he would comment on his successor regime only when the country’s “core values may be at stake.” He did so today hours after Mr. Trump justified his sweeping travel ban that triggered global outrage, domestic protest and legal challenge as continuation of Mr. Obama’s policy.

“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,” a spokesperson of the former President said. Mr. Obama believes that the moment of protest is already here.

Read more: Jewish groups denounce Trump’s ban on Muslims to USA

Immigration enforcement head replaced

Mr. Trump also fired acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Daniel Ragsdale amid controversy surrounding the executive order on immigration. The Homeland Security Secretary Gen. (rtd.) John Kelly said the President has appointed Thomas D Homan as acting ICE director.

“I am confident that he will continue to serve as a strong, effective leader for the men and women of ICE. I look forward to working alongside him to ensure that we enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the U.S. consistent with the national interest,” he said.

Gen. Kelly’s statement did not mention Mr. Ragsdale, who was the second federal official whose job was affected by the Trump administration on Monday.

 

This piece was published in The Hindu.

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