Trump Replaces Heads of Department of Justice and Customs Enforcement

Trump made the moves on Monday night.

January 30, 2017, 11:11 PM

— -- Donald Trump replaced the acting chiefs of the Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Monday night in the wake of controversy surrounding his executive order on immigration.

Trump first took aim at acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who just hours ago penned a letter saying she wouldn't defend the president's action, which restricted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries and banned refugees from Syria indefinitely.

The White House said that Yates, an appointee of former President Obama, "betrayed" the Department of Justice with her letter, which questioned whether Trump's order was "lawful."

"Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration," the White House statement said. Yates was replaced by Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

A short time later, Trump also replaced the acting director of ICE, Daniel Ragsdale, who took over as acting director on Jan. 20. Ragsdale first joined the agency in 1996 when it was the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Replacing him was Thomas Homan, who has served as executive associated director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations.

"In this capacity, he led ICE’s efforts to identify, arrest, detain, and remove illegal aliens, including those who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts," the statement from the Department of Homeland Security said.

Homan, a former New York City police officer, had been with ICE's removal office since 2009.

In the wake of Trump issuing the order last week, there was confusion about how it was going to be implemented. A chaotic scene unfolded at the airports and the administration ultimately clarified that the order did not apply to those with green cards.

On Sunday, Trump defended the action in a statement: “This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe," he said. "There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”

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