Refugee ban will increase anti-American sentiment, State Dept employees argue in dissent

Dozens of United States diplomats foreign service officials around the world - outraged over Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban - have voiced their opposition to the president in a rare letter of protest.

The current draft of the memo, which was obtained by the Lawfare blog, describes Trump's actions as "counterproductive" to its stated goal of protecting Americans from potential terrorist attacks. "A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate travelers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer".

Foreign service officers and diplomats are objecting to the executive action signed Friday that suspends the US refugee resettlement program for 120 days and stops people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country.

The move "will immediately sour relations" with countries whose governments are "important allies and partners in the fight against terrorism, regionally and globally". By "alienating" such allies, the USA government will lose access to valuable intelligence and counterterrorism resources, the draft said. Rather, the overwhelming majority of attacks have been committed by native-born or naturalized USA citizens-individuals who have been living in the United States for decades, if not since birth.

"Alternative solutions are available to address the risk of terror attacks which are both more effective and in line with Department of State and American values", the memo reads. The countries affected were Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Libya and Sudan.

"Decades from now we will look back and realize we made the same mistakes", the draft memo warned.

A cable from the USA 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 US official, reading from the cable.

The document is destined for what's known as the State Department's "dissent channel", which was set up during the Vietnam War as a way for diplomats to signal their disagreement on foreign policy decisions to senior management.

President Donald Trump signs executive orders on January 27, 2017.

"We are aware of a dissent channel message regarding the executive order", acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, adding that the protest memo has yet to be delivered.

If the memo is formally submitted to secretary of state designee Rex Tillerson, who is now awaiting Senate confirmation, the rules of dissent memos would grant Tillerson 30 to 60 working days to respond. Last year, more than 50 diplomats sent a dissent cable opposing United States inaction in Syria.

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