U.S. diplomats circulate memo critical of immigration order

(Photo: Travel Mail blog)

(Reuters) U.S. State Department officials today circulated a draft memo dissenting from President Donald Trump‘s executive order on immigration, and U.S. embassies reported on foreign anger about the policy.

The order, which Trump issued on Friday, banned immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, and temporarily halted the entry of refugees. Chaos broke out as border, customs and immigration officials struggled to act on the directive amid loud protests at major U.S. airports.

(Photo: Travel Mail blog)

“The end result of this ban will not be a drop in terror attacks in the United States; rather it will be a drop in international good will towards Americans and a threat towards our economy,” said the memo drafted under the State Department’s “dissent channel,” which lets officials disagree with policy.

The department is aware of the memo and values the dissent channel process, which “allows State employees to express divergent policy views candidly and privately to senior leadership,” acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

Separately, U.S. officials said the department received multiple cables from U.S. embassies over the weekend reporting foreign dismay at the order. Host countries have expressed unhappiness, and U.S. embassies have questioned how to implement what homeland security and other officials said was a poorly conceived policy.

A cable from the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, reported that the order “sparked an angry reaction from the editorial pages of all major Indonesian print outlets,” said a U.S. official, reading from the cable.

Indonesians had taken to social media to express their “outrage,” and cited the order as “an example of the Islamophobia of the new administration,” the same official said, again reading from the cable.

Asked about the cables, a State Department spokesperson said it remained in contact with its embassies abroad but added: “We will not comment on internal communications.”



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