Dana Boente was made the acting attorney general after United States President Donald Trump fired Sally Yates for defying his immigration order, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted. Yates had “betrayed the Department of Justice” by refusing to enforce Trump’s order, the White House said in a statement. Boente had been serving as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Yates on Monday had said the Justice Department would not defend Trump’s immigration ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations for the next four months. She said defending the order would not be “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what’s right”, Reuters reported. Yates was fired hours after she made these remarks. In an interview with The Washington Post, Dana Boente said he will agree to enforce the immigration order.
The White House also said that Yates is an Obama Administration appointee “who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration”. A spokesperson for Barack Obama, Kevin Lewis said, that the former president “fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion”. Excerpts from a speech that Obama had given in November 2015, where he’d called the idea of a ban on Muslims “shameful”, were also circulated widely.
The four-month curb imposed by Trump is specific to seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he had said. The new order immediately halts a US programme that allows for the relocation of people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice to the United States.
The new administration also removed its acting immigration and customs chief.