Order is wrong and
should not be
defended,' says a
bipartisan group of
over 70 former U.S.
The American Spark
Trump’s Ban On Arabs Wrong, Say U.S. Attorneys
By Cliff Montgomery - Jan. 31st, 2017
Trump’s first ten days in the White House have been quite a fascinating study in barely controlled chaos. But it
appears that nothing has caused quite as much confusion and controversy as Executive Order 13769, the
infamous order which suspends U.S. entry for citizens of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia
for 90 days - even if those individuals possess a valid non-diplomatic visa.
The executive order also suspends for 120 days the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), and
indefinitely suspends the program for Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s civil war and the terrorist group
ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
The order has not yet been officially printed in the Federal Register for public perusal; it is slated to be printed
in the Register on Feb. 1st. But it appears the order already has been released by Trump’s press secretary; it
may be found on DocumentCloud.
Like commentators working for the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and NPR, this reporter would like to
point out that Trump’s multi-nation ban “doesn’t include any countries from which radicalized Muslims [have
come and] have actually killed Americans in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001,” as NPR succinctly put it.
Those countries which have produced such terrorists include Saudi Arabia and Egypt - two Muslim-majority
countries not on President Trump’s list. It is perhaps curious that those two nations are countries in which the
Trump Organization appears to have pursued lucrative business arrangements.
For instance, “Trump lists companies on his FEC [Federal Election Commission] filing possibly related to a
development project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-biggest city, located outside Mecca,” according to
“Trump [also] lists two companies on his FEC filing possibly related to business in Egypt: Trump Marks Egypt
and Trump Marks Egypt LLC,” added Bloomberg.
Retired General Michael Hayden has worked for both Republican and Democratic presidents, in a variety of
top-level positions. During a discussion on NPR, Hayden pulled no punches in describing the possible effect
of this controversial executive order:
“It's a horrible move. It is a political, ideological move driven by the language of the [Trump] campaign
and ... in fact what [the U.S. is] doing now has probably made us less safe today than we were Friday
morning before th[e] [executive order] happened. Because we are now living the worst jihadist narrative
possible: that there is undying enmity between Islam and the West.
“Muslims out there who were not part of the jihadist movement are now being shown that the story they
were being told by the jihadists—"They hate us, they're our enemy"—that's being acted out by the
“And frankly, at a humanitarian level, it's an abomination.”
On January 30th, then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered that Justice Department attorneys would
not be allowed to defend Trump’s executive order on Arab aliens in court.
Yates stated that she felt the executive order violated the Justice Department’s “solemn obligation to always
seek justice and stand for what is right,” adding that she was not “convinced that the executive order is lawful.”
Trump - who it appears is not used to dealing with people who have an opinion different from his own - fired
her almost immediately.
The firing of the acting Attorney General for exhibiting an act of legal and moral conscience has produced an
interesting response from a bipartisan group of over 70 former U.S. attorneys, 50 of whom served under
Republican administrations. They declared in their statement:
“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.
“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 that the United States has the right to turn away refugees fleeing grave
danger, even though they have already been fully vetted and approved for admission.
“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.
“We could not candidly tell a court that the United States has the right to detain or forcibly return people who
have lawfully traveled here, based solely on their religion and country of origin.
“If asked whether the language of the Executive Order would permit the President to give preference to
Christians over Muslims for admission to the United States, a position the President has publicly expressed,
we would have to say, yes, the language would allow that.
“If asked whether such a religious preference comports with our Constitution, we would have to say we do not
“In short, the Executive Order is inimical to the values of the Justice Department and the United States, most
significantly, that individuals may not be treated more harshly under the law solely 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. Acting Attorney General Yates was right to refuse to do so.
“If her successor wishes to follow in the finest traditions of the Justice Department, he will reverse course and
do the same.”
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