A draft of the memo, which has been circulating among the foreign service for days, was obtained by CNN. Existence of the memo was first reported by ABC news.
It warns that not only will the new immigration policy not keep America safe, but will harm efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.
The ban “will not achieve its stated aim of to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States,” the draft memo notes.
“Given the near-absence of terror attacks committed in recent years by Syrian, Iraqi, Irani, Libyan, Somalia, Sudanese, and Yemeni citizens who are in the US after entering on a visa, this ban will have little practical effect in improving public safety.”
The internal memo is expected to be sent through the “dissent channel,” a mechanism for State Department officials to offer alternative views on foreign policy without fear of retaliation. It was established in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War to ensure that senior leadership in the department would have access to alternative policy views on the war. Last year, more than 50 diplomats sent a dissent cable opposing US inaction in Syria.
The current memo says the executive order “stands in opposition to the core American and constitutional values that we, as federal employees, took an oath to uphold.”
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 them, we lose access to the intelligence and resources (needed) to fight the root causes of terror abroad” before attacks occur in the US, the draft memo reads.
It goes on to warn the move will increase anti-American sentiment.
“Almost one-third of these countries’ combined populations are children under the age of 15; there is no question that their perception of the United States will be heavily colored by this ban,” the memo says. “We are directly (impacting) the attitudes of current and future leaders in these societies — including those for whom this may be a tipping point towards radicalization.”
The memo also details the humanitarian impact and potential damage to the US economy from the loss of revenue from foreign travelers and students. “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,” it says.
The career diplomats write that the ban “calls back to some of the worst times in our history,” such as the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“Decades from now we will look back and realize we made the same mistakes,” the draft memo warned.