State of Hawaii v. Trump
MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 65 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by John F. Kelly, Rex Tillerson, Donald J. Trump, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of State, United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A: March 6, 2017 Letter from DOJ and DHS to White House, # 2 Exhibit B: Department of State Q&As, # 3 Certificate of Service)(Rosenberg, Brad)
March 6, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
Washington D.C .. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
As Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security, \Ve are concerned about weaknesses
in our immigration system that pose a risk to our Nation's security. Our concerns are
particularl y acute as we evaluate certain countries that are unable or unwilling to provide the
United States with adequate information about their nationals, as well as individuals from nations
that have been designated as "state sponsors of terrorism," and with which we have no
significant diplomatic presence. We therefore urge you to take measures- pursuant to your
inherent authority under the Constitution and as authorized by Congress-to diminish those risks
by directing a temporary pause in entry from these countries.
Since the devastating attacks of September I I. 200 I, a substantial majority of those convicted in
U.S. courts for international terrorism-related activities were foreign-born. Moreover, senior
government officials have expressed concerns that foreign nationals who seek to aid, support, or
commit acts of terrorism will seek to infi ltrate the United States through our immigration
benefits programs such as the Refugee Admissions Program. At present, more than 300 persons
who came to the United States as refugees are under f-BI investigation for potential terrorism related activities. There are currently approx imately I 000 pending domestic terrorism-related
investigations, and it is believed that a majority of those subjects are inspired, at least in part, by
We expend enormous manpower and resources investigati ng terro rism-related activities of
foreign nationals admitted to the United States. as well as extremists within the United States
inspired by terrorist organizations such as ISIS and core al-Qa' ida, which have strongholds in
certain areas of these countries, and which use widespread and broad-based social-media
strategies for recruiting. Preventing and responding to terrorism at home encompasses thousands
of national security personnel across the federal government-in effect, we admit individuals at
risk for terrorism and then try to identify and stop them from carrying out their terrorist
activities. This places unacceptable stress on our law enforcement resources, which could be
better spent on other efforts to weaken those terrorist organizations, protect the homeland, and
safeguard our national security.
Although the convictions and investigations involve individuals from countries around the world,
we have particular concerns about our current screening and vetting processes for nationals of
certain countries that are either state sponsors of terrorism, or that have active conflict zones in
which the central government has lost control of territory to terrorists or terrorist organizations,
such as ISIS, core al-Qa'ida, and their regional affiliates. This increases the risk that nationals of
these countries (or those purporting to be nationals) may be members of terrorist or extremist
groups, or may have been radicalized by hostile governments or terrorist organizations.
This danger to our national security is heightened by the fact that effective collaboration on
counter-terrorism, including in the visa issuance and refugee vetting processes, requires adequate
information sharing. To the extent a government is a state sponsor of terrorism and hostile to the
United States, or lacks control over territory, its passport issuances, and thus over the records of
its citizens in such territory, there is a greater risk that the United States will not have access to
necessary records to be able to verify important information about individuals seeking to travel
from that country to the United States. Furthermore, based on DHS data and the experience of
its operators, nationals from these countries are more likely to overstay their visas and are harder
to remove to their home countries.
The Executive Branch, under your leadership, should complete a thorough and fresh review of
the particular risks to our Nation's security from our immigration system. Therefore, we believe
that it is imperative that we have a temporary pause on the entry of nationals from certain
countries to allow this review to take place-a temporary pause that will immediately diminish
the risk we face from application of our current vetting and screening programs for individuals
seeking entry to the United States from these countries.
We stand prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to address this situation.
crerreF.scm B. Sessions III
ohn Franc s Kelly
Secretary o Homeland Security
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