The Foreign Service Journal - March 2017
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MARCH 2017


leadership. More than 100 former defense,

foreign policy and national security

officials—both civilian andmilitary—who

served in both the George W. Bush and

Barack Obama administrations signed a letter on Jan. 30 urging that President Trump “revisit and rescind this Order.”

The Jan. 27 order imposed a 90-day sus-

pension on visa issuance and entry to the

United States for nationals from Iraq, Syria,

Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya and Yemen

pending a review of procedures.

It also suspended the admission of

any refugees for 120 days, stopped the

acceptance of Syrian refugees indefinitely,

capped the total number of refugees for

Fiscal Year 2017 at 50,000, suspended the

Visa InterviewWaiver Program, called for

expansion of the Consular Fellows Pro-

gram and ordered a review of all nonimmi-

grant visa reciprocity agreements.

“This Order not only jeopardizes tens

of thousands of lives, it has caused a crisis

right here in America and will do long-

termdamage to our national security,”

the Jan. 30 letter, addressed to Secretary

of Homeland Security John F. Kelly, then

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and

Acting Secretary of StateThomas A. Shan-

non, states.

Leading signatories include former

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright,

former Secretary of the Department of

Homeland Security Janet Napolitano,

former Director of National Intelligence

Dennis Blair, former CIA Director Michael

Hayden, former Commander of the

International Security Assistance Force

in Afghanistan and Presidential Special

Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter

ISIL John R. Allen, former Supreme Allied

Commander Europe James Stavridis and

many other top officials.

The letter explains the rigorous vetting

procedures that are subject to continuous

review and improvement, noting that not

Secretary of State John Kerry (at podium) with, from left to right, Under Secretary for

Management Pat Kennedy and former Secretaries Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell and

Madeleine Albright at the Jan. 10 Diplomacy Center ceremony.


a single major terrorist attack has been

perpetrated by travelers from the countries

named in the order since 9/11.

Signatories express concern over the

order’s apparent lack of vetting by the

agencies bound to enforce it (including

the State Department), and urge officials

in the three agencies to use the discretion

given themunder the order tomitigate

its damage and draw on the insight of

department professionals to recommend

its revocation.

“A blanket ban of certain countries or

classes of people is inhuman, unnecessary

and counterproductive from a security

standpoint, and beneath the dignity of our

great nation,” the letter concludes.

Following the hold put on the order by

U.S. District Judge James Robart of Seattle

on Feb. 3 and the administration’s appeal

of that decision on Feb. 7, many of the

letter’s signatories, and others, filed an

amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court

of Appeals. That court upheld the hold on

the immigration order on Feb. 10.

The brief argues that the order harms

the interests of the United States and that

maintaining the hold while the underly-

ing legal issues are adjudicated would not

jeopardize national security.

—Susan B. Maitra, Managing Editor

U.S Diplomacy Center

Ceremonial Opening


n Jan. 10, Secretary of State John

Kerry was joined by four of his prede-

cessors for the ceremonial opening of the U.S. Diplomacy Center, a museumon the

history of American diplomacy scheduled

to open formally in 2018.

The center was conceived under

Madeleine Albright’s tenure as Secretary

of State and, at the event, she stated:

“Diplomacy is about people. It’s about

relationships. We want the Diplomacy

Center and Museum to tell the untold

stories of diplomacy and the never-heard

stories of the people involved.”

Speaking at the event, Hillary Clinton

took the opportunity to praise American

diplomats and underline the critical

importance of diplomacy. “Diplomacy is

one of the greatest forces for peace and

prosperity and progress the world has

ever known,” Clinton stated.

“I’m excited about the historic artifacts

and the cutting-edge exhibits that will be

here to teach and inspire future gen-

erations about the work of our country’s

diplomats,” she continued. “Students and

visitors alike will be able to simulate high-

stakes diplomatic negotiation, learnmore

about resolving disputes in our increas-